It’s finally here! I’m really excited for today because I finally get to talk about dulce de leche on the blog. The sweet, thick delicious-ness that has become my new obsession. Maybe you already know what dulce de leche is, but I know some of you are furrowing your brow, saying “huh Priya? What the what are you talking about?”
Let me just tell you that dulce de leche is one of the best things to ever happen to you. Yeah, that’s right. It’s made from milk and sugar, lots and lots of sugar, and then heated until it becomes caramelized. It’s literally that, caramel. I also like to refer to it as dulce de “crack”. I could stop eating it if I want to but I’m not ready to give it up yet. It’s sweet, sticky, has a toffee-like taste that makes me want to eat it straight out of the can. Not that I would. Ever.
So to summarize, it’s crack.
To make it at home, just place a can of sweetened condensed milk in a large pot and simmer it for 2 hours. Once it’s cooled, crack open the can and you’ll see that the milk has been become a deep, rich brown colour. And yes – you can make it from scratch using milk and loads of sugar but that also means you also have to stand in front of the stove for 4-6 hours and stir it constantly to avoid sugar crystals from forming. No thanks!
I’ll take the easy way out on this one. That moment when you peel back the lid from the can of condensed milk and you see that beautiful caramel staring back at you, is a feeling of satisfaction and an overwhelming sense of hunger. Some may call it “delayed gratification” but whatever it is, it’s good.
So when Loblaws asked me to pick up some perfectly “imperfect” apples from their store, I knew exactly what had to happen to those babies. Dulce de leche had to happen. These mini apple hand pies with dulce de leche are soft and pillowy, slightly tart, super sweet and the generous drizzle of rich dark chocolate puts these beautiful pies over the top. So what if those apples aren’t perfectly shiny, round, and red? Hasn’t your mother taught you that beauty is on the inside? Imperfect produce is all the rage and I’m on board with this trend.
The apples are chopped up and simmered with butter and brown sugar until it caramelizes. Then add a dollop of dulce de leche and a spoonful of apples to rounds of puff pastry and bake until golden brown. I dare you to not try these as they come out of the oven still hot. Drizzle over some melted chocolate and then prepare for what will be one of the most glorious food moments of your time. The puff pastry flakes off as you bite into it. The sweet and creamy dulce balances the tartness of the apples as it oozes out of the pie and down your chin.
- 1 can of sweetened, condensed milk
- 1 package of puff pastry, dethawed
- 1½ cups of chopped apples (approx. 2-3 apples)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 egg
- dark chocolate for drizzling on top
- Remove the wrapper from the can of condensed milk. Place in a large stockpot and pour water over top so that the can is completely submerged and the water is at least 1-2 inches over the can. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Let it simmer for 2 hours, topping it up with water as needed to make sure the water level remains 1-2 inches above the can.
- After 2 hours, use tongs to remove the can and place on a wire rack to cool.
- When ready to make the hand pies, preheat the oven to 350F.
- Melt the butter in pan over medium heat then add the apples. Stir and let it cook for 3-4 mins until the apples cook through. Add the brown sugar and cook for another 3-4 minutes until sugar caramelizes then remove from heat.
- Roll out the puff pastry and cut into rounds, approx. 3 inches in diameter.
- Add a teaspoon of dulce de leche and a tsp of apple filling to the pastry round. Place a pastry round over top and seal using the egg wash. Brush the egg wash over top the pastry and pierce the top slightly to let steam escape while baking.
- Place the hand pies on a greased baking sheet and bake for approx. 20 mins until pastry browns.
- Remove from the oven and place the pies on a wire rack to cool.
- Melt the chocolate at 30 second intervals and stir at each interval until completely melted. Drizzle over the hand pies then serve!