Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Uno, dos, tres... leches!

Dear Tricia, I was at an undisclosed location the other night and saw a "Cuatro Leches Cake." I thought, hmm . . . I've heard of Tres Leches, but Cuatro?? What's this new mystery milk? Better yet, what are all of the milks in these Mexican delights?

You know that U2 song, "Vertigo?" At the beginning he sings and counts "Uno, dos, tres, catorce." I've always wondered why he skipped counted 1, 2, 3, and then skipped 4 and went all the way to 14. Weird.
So lets talk tres leches cake. Tres leches means "3 milks" for those of you not fluent in the Espanol. It is a lovely Mexican dessert made with vanilla cake that is soaked in a sweet mixture of milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream, usually flavored with caramel. Its unbelievably good and when paired with a Big Mac value meal and a Pepsi Super Gulp, will most likely give you diabetes.
Cuatro leches cake is spanish for "4 milks." What's this elusive new milk, you wonder? Well, I looked up the recipe on the website for La Duni in Dallas, who are well-known for their award winning tres leches and cuatro leches cakes. They were very secretive about giving me any hints, but mentioned something called "arequipe sauce." So I looked further at other recipes that people had posted online. What I found is that cuatro leches is still soaked in the standard 3 milk recipe (again: regular milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream if you have short term memory loss from going to too many Widespread Panic shows), but is always finished with arequipe sauce.
To make arequipe sauce, there are two steps: boil an unopened can of condensed milk in a water bath for about 2 hours. When you open it (carefully so that it doesn't explode and leave you with a kitchen covered in shrapnel), the end produce is called "dulce de leche." You've probably heard of this before but didn't know how to make it. Now you do, thanks to me. After you cool the boiled condensed milk, or dulce de leche, you wisk in another 1/2 cup of regular milk to it, and it becomes arequipe sauce. Drizzle your tres leches cake with that and its officially cuatro leches cake.
Now if we could figure out why Bono skips so many numbers on the way to 14. Let me know when you've got the answer to that one.

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