Disaster + Desire = Caramel Curd

Disaster + Uncaramelised milk = Desire

Uncaramelised milk  + Desire = Caramel Curd

Therefore, Disaster + Desire = Caramel Curd

That’s Saturday morning arithmetic for you…aka syllogism or something like that.

A spoonful of caramel curd

Anyhow, saturday early morning wake-ups seem to be my inspiration for caramel cooking. Weeks ago it was caramelised white chocolate and this saturday past, it was something else. See I have a human alarm…in the form of a 2-year old lieverd (darling, in Dutch) who is also my son! This morning, the human clock is very effective and I am awake a whole 2 hours before I planned….considering my saturdays in the last few weeks have been hectic!

Anyhow, I come downstairs and instantly start planning my cooking/baking this weekend. On the list – a salted chocolate caramel shortbread and pumpkin bread. But…I have a little caramel from my last shortbread episode and a bowl of condensed milk in the deep freezer. The last time I attempted a confiture au lait/dulce de leche, it failed.Miserably. Maybe it was because I attempted it on a friday evening. Who knows? Anyhow, after two hours of boiling the milk and letting it stand overnight, I discovered it hadn’t worked on that fateful saturday morning, weeks ago.

Drops of caramel curd

Not wanting to waste the uncaramelised milk, I put it in a bowl and popped it in the deep freezer.

See, I promised my colleagues that I would bring in some caramel shortbread on Monday and so I had to think of where I would get the caramel. Since I didn’t plan to go to Paris, I decided to make some. However, I wasn’t ready to spend another couple of hours boiling a can of milk only to have it fail and so I kept thinking and the next thing that occured to me was…why not make a caramel curd? And that’s exactly what I did.

My aim was to make a curd with a thick, yet spreadable consistency which would be nice. Of course, I wanted to use up my frozen milk and have it ready in time for the shortbread. And so I got to work and in less than 20 minutes, I was done. Ready…to pot and refigerate.

Now, it ended up looking and tasting lovely….if a bit light. It was delish on the pumpkin bread as well…

Pumpkin and pecan bread

Caramel curd…ready in 20 minutes flat!

Caramel curd

Makes about 180ml / or a small – medium jar: enough to layer one 26cm shortbread and still have some left over…for pancakes and waffles. I’m making this up as I go along. Can you tell :-)?

You’ll need
1 egg
1 egg yolk
80g brown sugar (I used a mixture of light and dark)
100ml condensed milk (in my case I used 200ml and it was a bit too thin so I suggest halving the amount)
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod 
40 – 60 gm ice cold butter, cut into about 10 pieces
Whisk egg and egg yolk in a bowl
2 yolks and 1 white Straining egg mix
Sieve into a pan – to remove thick bits of yolk
Strained egg mix
Add sugar to egg mix and stir till its a soft mixture
Brown sugar
Put pan on very low heat on your stove top – you want the mix to cook, not fry! (If you want scambled eggs though, by all means turn the heat up. Please DON’T.  Note that I almost ended up in this very scenario!, Thank God I didn’t)
Sugar in egg mix Caramel mix 
To deseed the vanilla, use a knife or pair of scissors to split it in two and then place on a bit of wax paper and scrape out seeds. Why wax paper?   

Scraped out vanilla pod and seeds

Nonstick…so the seeds don’t get lost 🙂

Vanilla seeds

Combine the milk and vanilla and add that to the egg and sugar mixture 

Failed condensed milk Carnation milk with vanilla seeds

After 4-5  minutes, start adding butter 1 chunk at a time, mixing well till butter is melted before adding another
Carnation milk and vanilla seeds Frozen butter chunksCarnation milk in sugar-egg mix Butter chunks in caramel curd
After 10 – 12 minutes, it should be ready.
My version looked thin when I finished but it thickened a bit in the fridge
Caramel curd
Put in clean and well washed jars ( I don’t sterilise the jars for my curds because they end up refigerated. I do make sure they are well washed though!)
Once it has cooled down, refigerate and use within 2 weeks. Make sure to stir before you use….all the vanilla seeds sink right to the bottom
Vanilla seeds in caramel curd
…or make loads for Christmas and give away to friends!  

A spoonful of caramel curd

Or do as I did with the Shortbread (I preferred my previous try though – much crisper, I suspect the liquid caramel had something to do with it but….) and Pumpkin bread…or make it up as you go along 🙂

Chocolate caramel shortbread

As for the verdict from my colleagues today – they liked it…a lot. I served the salt on the side, not atop and some like it with salt on, some didn’t!

Mission accomplished.

Have you had any caramel disasters like me?  Or maybe you have a human alarm 🙂 ?

Drops of caramel curd

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Disaster + Desire = Caramel Curd – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]


  1. […] Do you wonder that I make mistakes? Like buying a jar of mixed berry jam, when what I wanted was strawberry – they look the same but….. Or picking a pack of Fennel tea instead of my Twinings Lemon and Ginger? Or….stupidly getting a tin of Evaporated milk (when I should have purchased Condensed), boiling it for 2 hours, leaving it overnight to cool and opening it up in the morning to find bronzed, liquid milk….and not Dulce de Leche! Though to be honest, in this case, it worked out for good because I ended up being a tad bit creative and making caramel curd……. […]

  2. I tried the condensed milk method to make the dulce de leche and it works… but you must simmer the cans for four hours and the bottom must not be touching the pan. I used a wire potholder for that.

    But your recipe’s waaay better and more economical in terms of gas/electric usage.

  3. curd. for some reason, the word has a negative connotation in my mind. granted, the only curds i’ve ever had were citrus-based and nowhere near as desirable as a caramel version. your photography is excellent and this creation makes my stomach growl!

  4. Carol, Ded, Zurin – Glad you like it and I did eat it with a spoon…now and again 🙂

    Art and Appetite – I sooooooooo say the same….diet…hmmm. I’m trying to keep up with walking a few times a week! I love the christmas basket idea!

  5. Oh my sweetness! I kept telling myself I’m on a diet but I just can’t do it–especially by looking at this.

    It would really be a great addition to cookie baskets for Christmas though. This totally looks sooooooo divine. I’d love to put this on top of a bundt cake.

  6. Amelia – looking forward to reading your caramel post.

    Thanks Christine, Rebecca

    Oh Joy, I know your pain…haven’t been there lately but have been in the past.

  7. wow this is so cool and wow you can cook lucky colleagues thanks for the Paris tips and I am so happy you are getting to go to blogger connect in london have fun love Rebecca

  8. Mmm I love making caramel from scratch and adding fresh vanilla beans really gives it that rich buttery flavor. When I was a pastry chef I always cursed myself every time my sugar mixture would “crystallize” GAH so frustrating, but with much practice and patience I finally got the hang of it 🙂 Great post

  9. Hi!
    love this idea of caramel made like curd. I JUST made some caramel sauce for a gift (will publish the post very soon).

    Thanks for visiting and commenting 🙂

  10. Claudia it was delish and I’m glad it didn’t end up as scrambled caramel!

    Mimi, I used sweetened condensed milk

    Thanks Tracy and Celia, I won’t be trying it in the microwave – promise!

  11. Gorgeous, Oz! We make caramel, but with cream instead of condensed milk (Pete doesn’t like the latter). I agree with you, though, caramel is one seriously addictive flavour!

    PS. I did try making the dulche thingy once with a can of condensed milk – someone told me to make it in the microwave. Trust me, don’t. 🙂

  12. I just use a little oven top beeper. I do a very easy dulche de leche by just putting condensed milk (in an ovenproof dish, covered) in the oven for an hour, but yours sounds so good with the real vanilla seeds added.

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