David and I never have dessert with our everyday dinners, but I enjoy making dessert when we're having guests. Here's a recipe I've made a couple of times that I really like. It's easy to make, and easy to fit into a multi-course dinner prep. Making the dulce de leche is especially fun. After the first time I made it, I wrote a note in the book, "Yes, it's really this easy!" I just looked online, and there certainly are more complicated ways to make it from scratch, but I see no reason to try them. Just simmering an unopened can of condensed milk for 90 minutes produces great results!
APPLES WITH ICE CREAM AND DULCE DE LECHE
adapted from Diane Rossen Worthington, Seriously Simple: Easy Recipes for Creative Cooks
3 T. unsalted butter
4 baking apples (Golden Delicious are good), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4" slices
2 t. sugar
good vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup dulce de leche (recipe below); can also use purchased caramel sauce, warmed
Prepare the dulce de leche sauce ahead of time—can be done as much as 2 weeks ahead.
Melt the butter in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add and apply slices, stir to evenly coat with butter and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and cook for another 5-6 minutes, or until the apples are somewhat browned and soft, but not mushy.
The apples can be prepared as much as 4 hours ahead of serving. When ready to serve, add a tablespoon or two of water and re-heat.
To serve: Put a scoop of ice cream in a bowl or small plate. Add apple slices. Top with dulce de leche.
dulche de leche
1 recipe of this makes enough for double the apple recipe above
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla extract
Choose a large, heavy sauce pan into which you can fit the can of condensed milk and also put a lid on the pan. Take the wrapper off the can (or leave it on and pull out when it falls off during boiling). Put the unopened can in the pan and add water to come up about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the can. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and then reduce the heat, partially cover, and cook for 45 minutes. Turn the can over and simmer for another 45 minutes, for a total of 90 minutes cooking time.
Let the can cool in the pan of water until it reaches room temperature. Open the can and pour out the contents into a small bowl. Add the vanilla and stir in. Can be stored in the refrigerator up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.