Milk Jam or Confiture de Lait is a French caramel sauce similar to dulce de leche. Its basic ingredients are milk and sugar with the options of adding baking soda (which I learned is not only a leavening agent, but also often used for browning) and can come in a myriad of flavours from the addition of vanilla beans, lemon, lavender, fragrant teas, and spices such as cardamom.
The consistency of the milk jam will vary greatly depending on how long you reduce it. While some recipes say to cook it for 30 minutes, I’ve found I’ve needed at least over 1 hour for it to get anywhere near being thick enough to spread like a jam. However, different stoves and pans will generate different results and cooking time.
The first batch was made using whipping cream, 1% milk, 1/3 cup of steeped Earl Grey tea with no baking soda. Despite having cooked it for 1 hour, it only reduced to the consistency of thick condensed milk and a pale shade the colour of milk tea. While this version was good on bread and especially nice when mixed in teas, coffees and drizzled all over ice-cream and fruits, it wasn’t at the spreadable consistency I wanted for it to be called a jam.
So, I tried again!
The second batch uses whipping cream, 2% milk, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/3 cup of steeped Buttered Rum tea, and 1/4 tsp of baking soda. The result was a deeper coloured caramel that was soft, but firm. If like me and you seem to always end up tasting baking soda in everything you make when you use it, don’t worry, the sauce will smell like baking soda while its reducing and bubbling – and you’ll freak out a bit – but the end product will be devoid of that bitterness with only perhaps just a hit of salt.
Some recipes instructed to stir often. I only stirred when I noticed the sauce seperating and solidifying at the top…I guess I’m pretty lazy.
Basic Milk Jam
Adapted from Tartelette Blog, B for Bonnie, and Adventures in Japan
1 cup Cream
1 1/4 cups of milk
1/2 cup of Sugar (I did a mix of white and brown sugar)
1/3 cup of Tea, steeped for 5 minutes or so
1/4 tsp of Vanilla Extact
1/4 tsp of Baking soda
Cook the cream, milk, sugar (and baking soda) in a heavy bottom saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. When the mixture is boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer until it changes colour and thickness. Stir periodically until it reaches the consistency of ‘jam’ or to your preference! It can take between 30 minutes to over an 1 hour. You can eat and use right away or bottle it up and let it rest overnight in the fridge where it will firm up and lighten up in colour a bit.
If you want to add tea for flavouring, wait for the mixture to thicken a bit halfway through cooking and stir it in.