Dulce de Leche Cortada (Curdled Milk Dessert)
Dulce de leche cortada is one of the classic old fashioned Venezuelan desserts that I grew up with. It is also popular in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
I know what you’re thinking… curdled milk sounds so disgusting in a dessert, to say the least. Usually, curdled milk is associated with making cheese like cottage cheese or queso fresco.
But, hear me out. Dulce de leche it’s made with milk — sweetened condensed milk. So, dulce de leche cortada tastes similarly to dulce de leche but with a different texture, that’s it. Super delicious.
Also, traditional Venezuelan dulce de leche cortada has spices like cloves and cinnamon sticks. Plus some delicious additions like rum or raisins.
It’s like a spiced and grainy dulce de leche with a lime touch. Sounds delicious, right?
Traditionally, it’s made for easter week — Semana Santa — like arroz con leche. And it’s extremely easy to do.
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How to make venezuelan dulce de leche cortada
The best part about this dessert is how easy it is. You need a few ingredients and spices.
The first step is to curdle the milk. I won’t be discussing the chemical details of why milk curdles. But the short answer is that when the milk ph acidifies, the protein particles separate from the whey.
So, the key to curdle milk is using some type of acid. For this recipe, you can either use vinegar or lime/lemon.
I honestly prefer lime juice. I find the smell more pleasant. Also, you need lime zest for the recipe, so I just use the whole lemon for flavor and to curdle the milk.
The ratio is the following: 1 lime per liter of milk (assuming each lime has about 2 tbsp of lime juice).
Add the lemon juice to the milk and let it curdle for 10 minutes without stirring. At this point, the clumps will start to form at the surface.
Take the milk to the stove and take it to a boil. Add the cinnamon stick, lime zest, cloves, and sugar. Stir gently and let it boil.
The sugar/milk ratio is 1 cup of sugar per liter of milk.
As you may see, this is a pretty easy recipe to make for a crowd. Just double the amount of the ingredients.
1 liter milk + 1 lime + 1 cup sugar : 4 small portions
Once the milk is boiling, lower the heat to medium and let the curdle milk simmer for about 1 hour or until almost all the liquid is gone, the color of the curdle milk is slightly golden and there is a kind of caramel formed.
How much you should let the dulce de leche cortada dry is up to personal preferences. Some like it with a bit of liquid caramel. Others prefer it dry with a stronger flavor.
In Venezuela, we make some additions to this recipe, like a bit of rum and raisins. They are optional but highly recommended. You can add them along with the spices. They are delicious!
I hope you like this easy traditional dessert and I see you in the next recipe!
- 2 liters whole milk
- 2 cups of sugar
- 2 lime (juice and zest)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 cloves
- 1 tbsp rum (optional)
- Raisins (optional)
In a big pot, pour the milk with the lime juice. Let it sit for 10 minutes until clumps start to form.
Take the pot to the stove and take the milk to a boil. Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, lime zest, rum, and raisins. Stir slowly to don’t break the clumps. Let the curdled milk reduce for 40 – 60 minutes.
Take the dulce de leche cortada out of the stove when the liquid has become caramel and the clumps are slightly golden. Serve!