Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Vegan Condensed Milk


There are some things that you just give up on when you start cooking vegan. Condensed milk is one of them. There are no easily available ready made vegan condensed milks that I'm aware of, although I'm sure you can find such a thing on the internet. Honestly though, the lack of condensed milk in my life never bothered me, as generally I find it too sickly sweet and I'm always dubious of highly processed foods.

But when I started researching recipes for Costa Rican desserts, as part of this month's world food challenge, I found condensed milk cropping up a lot! So many of the desserts that I was finding called for condensed milk that I decided I'd better get my act together and make some. So, this recipe is not part of Costa Rica month, but if it wasn't for this challenge then I never would have made it!


Making sweetened condensed milk is very easy. In this recipe I use coconut cream as the base and sweeten it with liquid palm sugar. It's delicious, but if you don't like coconut then I should warn you that it does taste coconut-y. In fact, if you're a vegan who doesn't like coconut then life must be tough! Because so many beautiful dairy substitutes are made from coconut - like coconut whipped cream and coconut butter, which is used to make fabulous easy vegan fudge. Not to mention the fact that coconut oil is great to use in things like vegan cheesecakes to make it set to the right consistency.

If you really can't stand coconut though, I'm sure you could experiment with using soy or another non dairy milk. The advantage of using coconut cream is that it's already slightly thick, so you have a bit of a head start. If you used a different kind of milk, you would probably have to cook it down for longer to make it as thick. I'm sure you could also substitute the sweetener if you wanted to, and use agave nectar or maple syrup. Again, this may affect the cooking time and I haven't done it so I can't advise you.



Ingredients
3 cans coconut cream
3/4 cup liquid palm sugar (180ml)

To Make
1. Shake the cans of coconut cream and then pour into a saucepan. I advise using one that is a bit bigger than you think you'll need, as this will make it harder for it to boil over.
2. Add the palm sugar and place saucepan over a medium heat to bring to the boil.
3. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat so that it is boiling/simmering gently. Don't cover with a lid, as you want the milk to evaporate away.
4. Simmer for about an hour, checking and stirring regularly to prevent it boiling over. Different brands of coconut cream have different amounts of water in them, so you may have to boil for longer to get it thick. The liquid should have reduced by about 1/3 by the time it's ready.
5. Allow to cool slightly and then pour into jars and store the the refrigerator until ready to use.

Makes 3-4 cups condensed milk.
Should keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.



Now what to do with it? Keep your eyes on the blog this month for several Costa Rican desserts using this home made condensed milk!



22 comments:

  1. Oh my...I thought I'd never have a recipe with this in it again but now! Yea!! Now on my list ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks almost the same as regular dairy condensed milk! Time to make me some fudge! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ooh yum fudge! I hope you'll be sharing your fudge recipe!

      Delete
  3. Thanks for this, can't wait to try it!
    But you can buy vegan condensed milk. The Cruelty Free shop has it, I think the brand is Soymilke. I've used it for caramel lots of times and it's fantastic!
    Also I'm pretty sure Nestle makes a soy condensed milk that you can get in the supermarket but I never buy Nestle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, there is one for sale online in the Cruelty Free shop - but at $6.75 for a small tin (plus postage) it's a bit steep. I'm also not so keen on the added salt, flavours, maltodextrin and all those ingredients which are just numbers and letters!

      Delete
  4. This is awesome! I see that coconut cream is listed as an ingredient, but then the recipe includes coconut milk. Since coconut cream is super thick I'm assuming it's the coconut milk we should use? If so, is the full fat version best? Thanks so much, I look forward to making it because I can never find soy versions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn, thanks for pointing out the discrepancy - I've corrected it now :)

      No, I used coconut cream. Coconut cream is only slightly thicker than coconut milk unless you refrigerate in (then all the fat sets hard and you can whip it to make whipped cream).
      I used coconut cream here because it is a bit like a head start - as it is already a bit thick. You can also use coconut milk but because coconut milk is more watery, you'll need to cook it for longer! I also always use full fat for coconut cream! You could try the reduced fat, but the result won't be quite as rich and once again, you'll probably have to cook it for a bit longer.

      Delete
  5. I've quit dairy and I do miss condensed milk! I saw a can of soy condensed milk from Vegan's Choice in Newtown (a vegan grocer) and was tempted to pick up a can, although it did seem quite preservative heavy.. Glad to see there is a tasty dairy free alternative :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Definitely on my list. This recipe sounds so very easy and I was searching for a nice one. Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  7. THIS WAS FABULOUS! Thanks a million :). I didn't have "liquid" ? palm sugar so I just used granulated and it still turned out fantastic, though not as "white" as yours. Mine looked more like carmel. But tasted oh so yummy. We used ours in a favorite Brazilian Limeade recipe and it was BETTER than when we used to use sweetened condensed milk. My husband also used to eat "coconut butter spread" on toast growing up and as soon as he tasted this, his eyes lit up and he started bouncing around telling me how it tastes just like it (though I don't think he would appreciate my description of him "bouncing around" lol). Anyhow, thanks again! Great recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem Cory! Glad it turned out well for you! Granulated palm sugar should work just as well. Maybe you can share your traditional Brazilian Limeade recipe with us? I'd love to try it!

      Delete
  8. Great website! But coconut milk is unhealthy, full of saturated fats and Sri lankans when using too much of it are prone to heart disease.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you need to study up on it.

      Delete
    2. WHAT??? LOL, it's one of the healthiest thing in the WORLD!! seriously, do your research...

      Delete
  9. there are soooo many recipes to use condensed milk! In Brazil we use for almost all the deserts, we love it!! We make "brigadeiro" - a chocolate candy, its amazing!!!! I cant wait to try this new vegan condensed milk!yay!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is great to have condensed milk for so many South American sweets! I'd love to hear your favourite Brazilian sweets recipes, as I'll be featuring Brazilian food later this year as part of my World Food Challenge. Email me anything you think I should try at kbobo.contact@gmail.com

      Delete
  10. Lord what will we do without the Internet? to be more specific, PINTEREST & YOUTUBE :) THANK YOU for this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure! I know, what on earth would we do without pinterest? It's so good for finding recipes :) Let me know what you make with it!

      Delete
  11. Oh wow thanks for this recipe! I will be making it very soonly :) I loved condensed milk when I was little, as in eat it with a spoon out of the tin kinda loved it :) I haven't had it since going vegan (7 years ago!) so I am very happy!
    www.strawberriesandsquiggles.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  12. I tried to do this with coconut cream and maple syrup. Started out ok but at a certain point while simmering the mixture separated. Did I cook it too long? Should I use coconut sugar (solid not liquid) instead? Any help appreciated. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liz, this is interesting. I have made this so many times and this has never happened to me yet. I don't think the maple syrup would have been the problem, as I can't see how that would cause it to separate. Perhaps the heat was up too high? I can't offer too much insight, as I haven't come across this before. Maybe you can try again with the coconut sugar and make sure you cook over a very low heat?

      Please let me (and all of us!) know how you go and how it turns out!

      Delete