Archive | February, 2012

Pineapple and Dulce de Leche Dessert (21st Century Update)

4 Feb

This recipe for a pineapple dulce de leche dessert is an updated version for the 21st century!

I used to make a version of this dessert found in my very favorite Mexican cookbook, Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking, by Elena Zelayeta (NY: Doubleday, 1958).  And the recipe isn’t that easily found, because it is just a couple of sentences hidden in an little introductory paragraph for a recipe for  an Mexican Pineapple Milk Pudding (Dulce de Leche y Pina) pp. 226-227, a fairly elaborate recipe that I have never made, even though it looks great. But in this introductory paragraph, Elena Zelayeta suggests that “. . .something very much like it can be made by simmering an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in water to cover for 3 hours.  Cool it, open both top and bottom of can, turn out and slice.  If you want something extra special, put on top of a slice of pineapple, add a spoonsful of whipped cream, and sprinkle with almonds.”

This is delicious, but DON’T DO IT THAT WAY! That is how I used to do it, and it was truly amazing.  But I was younger and more adventurous then. Now cans of sweetened condensed milk carry a statement expressly warning against doing this because the cans can explode. And there are things we now know about plastic linings of tin cans. And boiling those cans takes a long time! So I no longer boil cans to make this recipe,  and neither should you! But if you really want the original, authentic taste, there are other ways to get there. See footnote below listing OPTIONS.)

Well, a recent invitation to a chili party up in New Hampshire got me thinking about this recipe because I planned  to bring a dessert. So I came up with this 21st century version, quick and portable.  I bought canned pineapple in juice, Trader Joe’s jarred caramel sauce, and frozen whipped topping, put everything in an insulated bag along with paper plates and spoons, and hit the road.

Pineapple and Dulce de Leche Dessert (21st Century Update)

For 10 people

2 cans pineapple slices in juice, 2 jars Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce, 1 tub of Coolwhip

Put one slice of pineapple on each plate.  Put about 1 T caramel sauce in the center of the pineapple slice.  Drizzle a little more caramel sauce over the top.  If you like, add a second pineapple slice, and a bit more sauce.  Add a spoonful of whipped topping and sprinkle with a little cinnamon. (Use Coolwhip if you want this to be portable, but if you are making it at home, you can use whipped cream instead.)

And that’s it.  It isn’t the original, but it still tastes phenomenal.  Enjoy!

This version has less sugar than the original but still go easy!  For even less sugar, see options, below.


1) For the real authentic taste without risk of explosing cans, search online for recipes for cooked dulce de leche sauce. There are recipes on the Web for making home-made dulche de leche from sweetened condensed milk, but in the oven (not in the can). These recipes are easily found.

I found a brand on-line that I wanted to use for my portable version. It is sold at Wal-Mart, but only selected locations.  I haven’t found it yet, but am still looking.  Look for Nestle La Lechera dulce de leche (caramel) or similar product from Goya.

2) For sugar-free version, use sugar-free caramel ice-cream sauce.  (Smuckers makes a caramel sauce sweetened with Splenda. Some versions are sugar-free and gluten-free).

3) For pareve and/or vegan versions: there are recipes on the Web for dulce de leche sauce made with silken tofu, with soy milk or with coconut milk, which sounds appropriately tropical to me.  And you can use Rich’s whipped topping.

4)For gluten free: no changes needed; Use ingredients listed above. Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel caramel sauce is gluten free.

by Randa Dubnick

Image is “Digital Pineapple” by Randa Dubnick

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