I would work for coffee. Coffee and Dulce de Leche Cortada Recipe (Curdled Milk Fudge) — or as we also know it, Cortadito de Leche — every day after lunch.
A few years ago I worked for someone who is today a friend. Every morning, very early, somebody would bring coffee from the kitchen. All day I would pretend to steal cups of coffee from his office, pretend I say because he was right there in front of me. One day after one of my regular trips to the coffee pot he said: “what about if we don’t pay you a salary but we allow you to work here for the free coffee?”.
He thought it was a clever joke, what he never realized is that if he had pushed hard enough, and thrown in the above-mentioned dessert with the coffee, I would have taken the deal.
Dominicans have a love affair with coffee. It is as part of our daily life as our Bandera Dominicana, the perfect ending for lunch, the obligatory treat to visitors, the drink of choice at wakes and part of our traditional breakfast. Visiting even the humblest home will always be an occasion for a cup of coffee,un cafecito, as we say.
Along with “un dulcito” (a little dessert), another obligatory ending to a Dominican lunch, coffee is the dot that crosses the i. We are rarely inclined to have a giant slice of cake after lunch, more like a small serving of curdled milk fudge, a small square of guava paste or something similar. And then coffee.
We usually drink our coffee black, and with sugar. Too much sugar for many people’s taste. Some people prefer to add a little nutmeg to the coffee grounds before brewing it, some prefer a touch of cinnamon.
In the campos(countryside) it is brewed using home-ground coffee brewed in a rudimentary coffee-maker. The water is boiled and the ground coffee is soaked in the boiling water. It is then strained using a cloth. The resulting coffee has a stronger aroma and taste than the coffee made with an espresso machine.
When you visit us you mustn’t miss our cafecito in the company of friends and family. And I am assuming here that every normal human being likes coffee. If you don’t, and if we ever meet, let’s be friends… keep it to yourself.
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups of whole milk at room temperature
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon of grated lime peels
- 1 teaspoon of grated orange peels
- 1/4 cups of raisins or prunes
- 1/4 cup of lime juice at room temperature
Mixing: Mix the sugar and eggs, stirring until they are well mixed. Stir in the milk. Sieve to eliminate undissolved egg parts. Mix in cinnamon, lime peels and orange peels, and prunes.
Cooking: Simmer over low heat. Once it breaks the boil pour in the lime juice in different spots. Simmer without stirring unless it is sticking to the pot. The milk will eventually (about 10 mins) curdle, and chunks will float in thin syrup. Once the thin syrup has reduced to about half, remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick.
Serving: Chill before serving.
Traditionally this was made with milk that was spoiled (curdled), I suppose as a way to use everything back when food was not as inexpensive. Since I never have spoiled milk around, this method (adding lime juice, an acid) works in a similar manner.
And yes, you can do this without the eggs (this is a non-traditional addition), but the texture is very different. The eggs make for soft, "custardy" chunks, while without it they are more chewy and dry. I definitely prefer the egg version.