Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Childhood Ramblings....(and Caramel Candy in the Pressure Cooker)

(Source: Cakes and More!: Dulce de Leche)

I grew up in Chittaranjan Park, the "little Bengal" of New Delhi. The Market no. 2 of Chittaranjan Park was just a stone's throw from my house. The market that I remember was quite different from the pillared and modernized structure of today.

The market of yore comprised of merely seven or eight shops in a row. These shops were really small and old-fashioned. I was a frequent visitor of this market accompanying my Dadaji (whom I used to call Dadabhai).

Out of all the shops that we visited, one shop was the most my special favourite. This was a small, dark, shanty of an aged "press-wallah". He used to specialize in ironing coats and blazers. So, at the start of every winter Dadabhai and I used to descend at his store, armed with a huge load of winter clothes.

This old man (the shopkeeper) was frail, bent, and soft-spoken. Whenever he spoke there was always a twinkle in his eye. "Nanhi gudiya" he used to call me lovingly. I used to sit very comfortably on his old charpoy and dangle my legs to my heart's content while Dadabhai used to count the clothes and chat with him on all topics under the sun. When it was time to go, the old man used to always give me an orange toffee. The small orange toffees that were available for 50 paisa at that time. Oh! to my six-year-old self that orange toffee was no less than a treasure because I was not allowed to eat toffees at home! Looking back, I wonder that my grand-dad never stopped me from eating the sweets. In present times, I daresay, we parents will never let our children accept toffees from strangers for fear of the toffees being laced with toxic things! Different times, different people!

Toffees and children are inseparable! Though I am very strict on the number of toffees that my daughter consumes in a week, but in my heart of hearts I know how she longs for it. Hence, when I chanced upon the recipe of making caramel candy, I just went headlong into making it.

Since the Kolkata Food Bloggers group is turning one and there is a wonderful birthday party celebration, I am sending this beautiful dessert for the "Kolkata Food Bloggers' Birthday Celebration".

This version of caramel candy is called Dulce - de - leche. (pronounced Dool - say - de - leeshay).
It is so simple. One can make it simply by steaming a tin of condensed milk in a pressure cooker. I got the recipe from here.


Here is the recipe:


Condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai mate): 1 tin
Water: Approx three cups. You would need enough water to make sure that the tin of condensed milk is half immersed in water.


1. Remove the plastic wrap of the condensed milk tin (if any). Do not open the metal flap of the tin.

2. Place it in the pressure cooker. Now add water till the tin is partially submerged in water. The water should come halfway up the sides of the tin as shown in the picture below.

3. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook on high heat till one whistle. (Do not worry. This is safe!)
4. Right after one whistle lower the heat to minimum and let it simmer on the gas for 20 minutes. Do not turn off the gas. The cooking time will vary according to your requirement. If you want a hard dense chewy caramel, cook for 25-30 minutes. I generally like a soft, creamy consistency, so I go for 20 minutes of cooking time.
5. Let the tin come to room temperature. This takes nearly an hour but believe me, it well worth the wait.
6. Once the tin has cooled completely, open the tin. Dig right in with the spoon. It is heavenly delicious! Needless to say, kids will love it.



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