Arequipe (Dulce de Leche / Cajeta)
- 3-1/2 cups milk
- 1-1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
When I visited Colombia a few years ago, one of the first desserts I wanted to have was obleas con arequipe, which are big wafers filled with what most of you, or many of you know as dulce de leche. In Colombia we call dulce de leche arequipe. In Mexico, it's called cajeta, and in Perú, Chile and Bolivia it is called manjar blanco. But it really doesn't matter what you call it; arequipe is one of those amazing sweet treats that not only goes with almost everything, it is also really easy to make.
Most people like to make arequipe by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk in water in either a regular pot for about 3-4 hours, a pressure cooker for about an hour and half, or even a slow cooker for about 8 hours. Why? Because you only need two ingredients to make it: a can of condensed milk and water, that's it. You boil it, let it rest and then open it. I, on the other hand, prefer to make it from scratch to avoid adding preservatives but mainly because the taste is way superior to what you get from the boiled condensed milk. The difference is night and day!
I do have to say that the good thing about using the can of condensed milk is that you can choose how dark or light you want your arequipe to be. If you want it darker, you boil it for a while longer; if you want it lighter, you can take it out of the boiling water sooner. Another thing is that you can make a few cans at once and end up with a ton of arequipe, which I'm sure no one will complain about!