I am a big Rick Bayless fan. You can usually find me haunting one or all of his restaurants when I am in Chicago. Most recently David and I dined at Xoco for breakfast, not one but two times. Yes, the Huevos Rancheros was good, and the wood-oven chilaquiles were delicious, but the star of our Chicago mornings was the yogurt bar. Organic Greek yogurt spooned into a bowl and topped with fresh pineapple, papaya, homemade Mexican granola and cajeta (Mexican dulce de leche.) For a breakfast dish that maybe doesn’t get enough applause, this bowl of yogurt was out of this world. I knew I would have to find a way to make it at home and I believe I have. I’ve been using store-bought granola, but just today I found Rick Bayless’s homemade granola recipe, so check back soon. Cajeta is traditionally made with goat’s milk, which gives it that unique “goat-ey” taste. Maybe that’s not the best adjective to describe its flavor, but if you’ve had a creamy goat cheese, it’s very different from cheese made with cow’s milk. Feel free to combine goat’s and cow’s milk, or just use cow’s milk. In that case, it wouldn’t be Cajeta, in my opinion. I personally love cajeta with 100% goat milk.
recipe inspired by Xoco and Cajeta recipe from: Pati’s Mexican Table
plain Greek yogurt (my absolute favorite is Fage)
chopped fresh pineapple
chopped fresh papaya
granola of your choice
a few spoonfuls of Cajeta (recipe follows)
Spoon desired amount of Greek yogurt into a bowl and top with the chopped fresh papapa, fresh pineapple and granola to taste. Top with a few spoonfuls of cajeta and serve immediately.
8 cups (2 liters) goat milk
2 ½ cups dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pour milk, vanilla, sugar and baking soda into a large pot, stir well, and place over medium heat. Let it come to a simmer. (Don’t let it boil over!)
Keep it at a steady medium simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, every 15 to 20 minutes or so, with a wooden spatula or spoon. The mixture will gradually thicken and darken.
After about an hour and a half, the liquid will have thickened and reduced and the simmer will become stronger. Reduce the heat to medium low, to keep it at that constant medium simmer. You want active bubbling, but not over the top angry bubbles. Stir a bit more frequently, as you don’t want the bottom to develop a thicker layer.
Test a couple of drops on a cold plate: When cool, the cajeta should be the consistency of a medium-thick caramel sauce. If the cooled cajeta is thicker (almost like caramel candy), stir in a tablespoon or so of water and remove from the heat; if too runny, keep cooking.
You know the Cajeta is ready when:
- It achieves a caramel brown color
- It is thick as liquid caramel or maple syrup
- It envelops the back of the spoon;
- When you gently stir across the pot with your wooden spoon, a slightly delayed trail behind the spoon appears, revealing the bottom of the pot if only for a few seconds
- As you slowly lift up the wooden spoon or spatula, Cajeta takes it’s time to drip from the spoon
- The sides of the pot show how the Cajeta has cooked down and if you run your spoon across that side, you get a fudgy (and delicious) residue.
Turn off the heat and let cool (it will thicken considerably as it cools).
Place in a glass jar, cover tightly with a lid. It will keep in refrigerator for up to 6 months.
- Fresh fruit
- Vanilla bean ice cream
- Spread between cake layers or alfajores
- Use as a filling for crepes along with fruit and/or chocolate
- Eat by the spoonful while standing in front of the fridge