Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tres leches and seasonal fruit

For Valentine's Day this year, I made dinner as usual, but surprised my valentine with individual servings of tres leches. The three milks used in this dessert actually all start out as regular milk. Instead of buying cans of condensed and evaporated milk, I decided to make my own. The end result is so richly sweet that I typically pair it with fresh fruit for balance. In summer, that would be berries, but in the middle of winter I opted for blood orange, kiwi, and pomegranate.

1/4 C cake flour
1/4 t baking powder
1.5 T unsalted butter
3 T sugar
1 egg
1/8 t vanilla extract
1/3 C whole milk
1/3 C sweetened condensed milk (1 C whole milk + 2/3 C sugar)
1/3 C evaporated milk (2/3 C whole milk)
1/4 C heavy whipping cream
3 T sugar
1/4 t vanilla extract
Seasonal fruit (optional)

This recipe is adapted from All Recipes in order to make fewer portions. Preheat the oven to 350 ºF and grease and flour 4 cups of a muffin pan. Cream butter and 3 T sugar in a mixing bowl with a hand beater. Add the egg and 1/8 t vanilla and beat well. Slowly incorporate the flour and baking powder into the butter and egg mixture. Pour the batter into the greased muffin cups and cook for about 20 minutes. The tops should be golden and a knife should come out clean.

To create the condensed and evaporated milks, use shallow and wide pans to increase the surface area and quicken evaporation. Put the ingredients for the condensed milk in one pan and for the evaporated in the other. Place over a medium flame and bring to steam - DO NOT BOIL. Reduce the flame to make sure that the milks don't boil. Stir frequently. It will take less than an hour to reduce. After about a half hour, start checking the volume of each. The evaporated milk should reduce to 1/3 C and the condensed milk to 2/3 C. You can make this ahead of time and store in the fridge.

Mix equal parts of whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk (reserve half of the condensed milk). Pierce the cupcakes thoroughly with a toothpick or skewer. Place the tiny cakes in a bowl and cover with the milk mixture. Let this sit for at least a day, flipping occasionally and re-piercing to get good saturation.

Bring the remaining condensed milk to a boil over medium high heat. Stir for about 10 minutes to start to create a caramel sauce.

For the orange, you want to remove all the rind, pith, and membrane by cutting it away. I find it easiest to cut the orange in half so that you have a stable orange and then cut away the peel. Note that I used navel oranges below, but actually used blood orange for V-day.

Carefully cut each section by cutting on either side of the membrane. When done, you can easily separate each piece revealing pure orangey goodness.

Separate the seeds from the pomegranate and peel and slice the kiwi. Whip the heavy whipping cream, 3 T sugar and remaining vanilla to stiff peaks. To serve, place one of the mini-cakes on a plate and top with whipped cream. Add a swoosh of the caramel sauce to the plate and add decorate with the fresh fruit.

1 comment:

  1. When I ate at Bobby Flay's restaurant in Vegas, they surprised me with a "cuatro leches" cake. I asked what the fourth milk was, and they said "coconut."

    I've since tried adding this -- I use the Goya stuffy -- to mine -- in varying proportions -- and it tastes fantastic. But then, I'm a coconut slut.