In Japan, in the jams and jelly section of the markets, I've seen bottles of milk jam. Most are pretty expensive and rather large, so I've never bought them to try.
Then throughout the blogosphere, I saw many people trying their hand at making dulce de leche from condensed milk and I realized that milk jam is similar if not the same thing.
I was wandering a Japanese bookstore when I came across the "Cerfeuil's Dip & Paste" book. Cerfeuil (which means chervil in French) is a chain store around Japan which makes jams, dips and pastes. I think I saw a store in Kobe the last time I was wandering about.
As I flipped through the book they had all sorts of recipes, some using mayo, some using cream cheese, and some jams.
The section that particularly caught my eye was the "milk jam" section. The original version only used three ingredients...I bought the book.
On a recent trip to the supermarket they had some cream on sale which to me was a sign to try the milk jam recipe.
The book lists an original which they call "plain", one with earl grey and one with vanilla beans...which one should I make? I thought about it and then came up with crazy idea to use the ingredients for 1 recipe, then cut it into thirds so that I could try making them all (piggy? maybe). I figured instead of having just 1 cup of 1 flavor, I could have 1/3 cup of each.
I measured everything out as best I could, breaking a recipe into thirds is not easy.
I started with the original. The recipe didn't advise how long to cook the mixture and since I didn't know what the consistency should be like, I got a bit impatient and took it off the heat when I thought it was right, but it was still liquidy.
I then moved onto the vanilla version. This time I cooked it for about 30 minutes and waited until it got to a soft caramel consistency.
I washed out the pot then put back the original version to take it to a soft caramel consistency, which took about 5 to 10 minutes...if only I had been more patient the first time around!
Then, without washing out the pot, I moved onto the earl grey version, again cooking the mixture for about 30 minutes.
I tried a little of each for my afternoon tea. On unsalted soda crackers, it reminded me of the namacaramel (soft caramel) that I tried in Hokkaido. Each version was delicious.
It was also good on some ice cream, I nuked a little of each and poured it on top. I was surprised that most versions stayed soft on top of the cold ice cream.
Here's the original recipe with the variations:
translated from "Cerfeuil's Dip & Paste" makes about 200 grams (about 1 cup)
200 ml cream (about 1 cup)
250 ml milk (about 1.25 cup)
80 grams sugar (about 12 tablespoons or 3/4 cup)
Put mixture into a pot and cook on low, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 30 minutes until you get big bubbles, when the mixture changes color and consistency, take it off the heat and carefully pour into a bottle.
20 grams (about 3 tablespoons) earl grey tea
80 ml hot water (about 1/3 cup)
Steep tea for 5 minutes and add to the above sugar-milk mixture, follow the directions above for cooking.
1/2 vanilla pod
Split the pod lengthwise and scrape out 1/2 a vanilla pod with the back of your knife and add to the above sugar-milk mixture, follow the directions above for cooking.
NOTES: If you can measure your ingredients using metric, the recipe will be closer to the original than with the converted measurements in parentheses. I used skim milk, 35% fat cream and light brown sugar (because I don't buy white). If you can find a bottle with a wide mouth it will make it easier to pour the hot mixture in without burning yourself. The only problem I had with this recipe was figuring out how long to cook it and keeping myself from eating the whole thing out of the jar. I can't wait to let Satoshi try this.