Manjarblanco, dulce de leche, or caramel recipes!

Example of a glass of manjarblanco
Example of a glass of manjarblanco
Another example from yet another country
Another example from yet another country
Alfajores with manjarblanco
Alfajores with manjarblanco
Pionono with manjarblanco
Pionono with manjarblanco
Guergueros filled with manjarblanco
Guergueros filled with manjarblanco
Crepes with manjarblanco
Crepes with manjarblanco

This hub will be about a product that has many names. In Peru we know it as manjarblanco, which means something like white delicacy (even though it is not white); while in Colombia and Venezuela it is better known as Arequipe, (even though if it doesn't come from Arequipa); yet in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay they prefer to call it dulce de leche. In Brazil they call it doce de leite, which is very similar to the Spanish. I have also seen manjarblanco referred to as natilla and cajeta in other countries, while the French prefer to call it blancmange, which might be the origin of the word in the first place anyway.

In Peru they use manjarblanco to prepare many different types of desserts, many of them traditional and dating back some years, like pionono, alfajores, or guergueros, for example. Lately they have also started to prepare manjarblanco ice cream and that has turned out to be quite popular.

There are basically two different ways to prepare manjarblanco. The first is the fast and easy one and it is done by boiling a can of condensed milk for 1.5 hours. That process can be rather dangerous though, so make sure the pot has water on it to boil!

I was in Australia in November 2010 and I was very surprised to find ready made cans of manjarblanco in the supermarket! They were even the same Nestle brand as the condensed milk cans I am used to buying and boiling myself!

Getting condensed milk cans is not something that is easy to do though, especially if one lives in Austria. One can get the cans though if one crosses the border, as they are ready available in Italy! One can also get them in supermarkets, or even small shops if one goes to France, Spain or Portugal (including islands like Madeira and Azores). Over the years we have obtained our supply of condensed milk cans from relatives that came to visit us from Canada, or when we went to Australia or the USA. Visitors from Brazil have also brought us a few containers of dulce de leche, in exchange for being picked up in the Graz airport, as our love for manjarbalnco is well known by now!

Austrians do know about condensed milk, as some people like to add a bit to their coffees, but the problem is that it does not come in cans, but only in plastic toothpaste-like tubes. It is possible to boil those tubes, but getting the manjarblanco out is not that easy, so it is not so suitable for spreading on a pionono, or roll, for example.

The original way of preparing manjarblanco is the artisan way, which is done by using fresh milk and sugar and stiring the pot continuously until it reaches the desired consistency and color.

If you are not up to preparing anything too involved, you can also serve the manjarblanco with crepes and even add a bit of whipped cream, which will make them quite delicious!

Pionono recipe

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Beat egg yolks until thick an lemon-colored; gradually beat in 1/3 sugar; add vanilla. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold yolks into whites. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; fold into egg mixture.
Spread batter evenly in pan, which has been covered with greased paper. Bake in moderate oven (375°) about 10 to 12 minutes, or until done.
Immediately loosen sides and turn out on towel sprinkled with sifted powder sugar. Starting at narrow end, roll cake and towel together; cool on rack. Unroll and spread with manjarblanco. Roll up. Makes ten 1 inch slides.

It is said that Pionono was named after Pope Pius IX (Pio Nono)!

Alfajores recipe (with Maicena or cornstarch)

150 gms butter
200 gms sugar
300 gms cornstarch
100 gms flour
3 egg yolks
1 egg white
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
(some grated lemon peel)

Beat the first two ingredients, add the egg yolks and egg white. Add sifted cornstarch and flour with baking powder and then the vanilla. Roll dough and cut into small circles (about 4 - 5 cm or 1 1/4 in). Bake until slightly golden and then leave to cool on rack. Put two circles together with manjarblanco and roll in sifted powder sugar. Enjoy!

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