I have a present for you. Pronounced kah-HEH-tah, this sweet indulgence is Mexico’s version of dulce de leche. Made from goat’s milk, cajeta is a thick, luscious caramely sauce redolent with the scents of vanilla and cinnamon. Although it requires a bit of time to cook down, cajeta is impressively easy to prepare. After a long but gentle simmer, the initial 36 ounces of goat’s milk reduces down to a mere 12 to 14 ounces. The end product is a gooey, sweet confection that will send your tastebuds to heaven and back. Never cloying, the goat’s milk delivers its signature tang never lost even after two hours of softly bubbling stove top. In Mexico and all Hispanic countries, this treat is slathered on bread, perfect for breakfast on the run or as a favorite after school snack. Cajeta is drizzled on ice cream and fruit. Stirred into coffee, both hot and iced, you have a caramel indulgence. Pour it over flan or cheesecake for a decadent delight. A mug of hot chocolate with a fat dollop of whipped cream and cajeta dripped over the top gives new meaning to the drink. If you cook it down to a thicker consistency cajeta can be the caramel-like frosting on a cake or the runny insides of a hand pie. All you need is time so if you’re trapped in your house some rainy day or just have the afternoon off this is the ideal kitchen project. It makes a superb gift as well. Truly cajeta is a gift from God!
- 36 ounces goat’s milk. I use 3 12-ounce cans Meyenberg Goat’s Milk
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped out. Do not discard split beans. You’ll use them.
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Over medium high heat place all the ingredients except the baking soda in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Make certain the milk mixture goes no more than half way up the sides of the pot as the mixture will foam up drastically when the baking soda is added.
- Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to the boil. As soon as it comes to the boil remove from heat, immediately add the baking soda and stir vigorously.
- Drop the heat to medium low or low, depending on your stove, return to the stove top and allow to simmer gently uncovered.
- Keep your eye on the pot to avoid spillovers and adjust the heat so the milk just simmers. You don’t want a roiling boil. Stir every 10-15 minutes to avoid the bottom scorching.
- Simmer two hours again stirring occasionally.
- Every stove is different therefore at the two hour mark check the consistency. The cajeta will thicken a bit after cooling and at two hours will have turned a beautiful, deep brown color. If you want it really thick, for instance to ice a cake, you’ll need to continue gently cooking and stirring it.
- When desired consistency has been reached, discard vanilla beans and cinnamon, cool to room temperature then transfer to non-reactive airtight containers.
- The cajeta will keep up to a month in the refrigerator.