Do you have pecan trees? Many people in the Southwest do. Now how to use all those pecans while they are fresh and tasty? Here is a recipe shared from a friend who lives north of the border – the other border! Janet Davis lives in Canada and makes these yummy “pecan turtles” for the holidays.
Janet Davis, our guest author
This creative lady is a garden writer like Savorist Jacqueline Soule. Janet is also a photographer – and her words and images have been featured in numerous books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements and packaging. She blogs and has some pretty stunning photos. See her work and follow her blog – at The Paintbox Garden.
Make the Caramelized Milk
1. Place an unopened can of Condensed Milk into a pot big enough so that when water is poured in, it will cover it completely. Bring water just to a boil, then cover the pot and keep boiling very gently just above a simmer for 2-1/2 hours.***
Keep water level above the can so the contents can safely caramelize fully.
At the end of the cooking time, turn the pot off and let the can and water cool completely! before putting the unopened can in the fridge to cool even more.
About the milk can in boiling water.
*** Janet says: I have been making this recipe found in a cookbook, for more than 20 years and have never had a problem with a can exploding, but some internet sites warn that you shouldn’t ever do this. I use a large, good-quality stainless steel pot and cover the pan when the milk is “cooking”. But consider yourself warned….
Editors note – here in the Southwest we call this Dulche de Leche. It is commonly made this time of the year, and in just this manner.
Set The Stage
2. Cut waxed paper and line 2-3 cookie sheets.
3. Melt a semi-sweet dark chocolate bar in the top of a double boiler. When the chocolate has melted, use a small spoon to make nickel-to-quarter-sized flat discs on the waxed paper. Keep the chocolate warm over hot water but not cooking because you’ll need it again later.
Note – The original recipe didn’t call for this step, just jump to the next step. But I found it almost impossible to lift the turtles off the cookie sheet, waxed paper or not – and the base disc of chocolate made it easier.
4. When the chocolate discs have cooled and hardened, open the can of caramelized milk and, using your finger to help, put a small spoonful of the caramel onto each disc, about a teaspoonful or a little more.
5. Into each caramel mound, press a pecan half.
6. Making sure the chocolate is of the right consistency again (bring water to a higher simmer if it has cooled), now drizzle enough chocolate on top to “glue” the turtle together.
7. Once the turtles have cooled completely, they can be carefully lifted onto layers of waxed paper and put it an airtight cookie tin, or into small paper liners meant for homemade chocolates, and then boxed.
It’s important to keep them cool – I use a cool wine-cellar (Editor’s note- remember Janet lives in Canada) but the fridge would work too, I think. They’re best made within a week of eating, because the caramel crystallizes a little – but some people like that texture too. They don’t go bad anyway, provided they’re eaten in a few weeks.
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What do you think?!
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More fun with Monica in: Using Honey in New & Savory Ways (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). Only $7 online – or buy from Monica or Jacqueline in person. This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you.
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