“Go on, take a mouthful, and just try not to say mmm… Dulce de leche never sets really hard – it’s smooth, creamy and complements the hot, crunchy fritters. This recipe makes 300ml of dulce de leche and 1 litre of ice cream – you can make these in advance. You won’t use all the dulce de leche so keep the leftovers. ”
For the dulce de leche, dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in 2 teaspoons of water and set aside.
In a large pan, combine both of the milks, the sugar and the cinnamon stick and place it over a medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the surface is shimmering and the liquid is about to boil, stirring often.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda mixture. The milk will froth up, but return the pan to the heat and keep it briskly simmering, stirring often. This stage needs careful attention – stir to keep it from catching on the bottom, but do not reduce the heat too much.
Keep it simmering for about 1 hour – put a timer on for every 10 minutes and keep checking it. Before long it will turn golden brown and thicken. From this point, check it every 5 minutes, stirring well as it can catch quickly. It will deepen in colour and form a syrupy consistency. Cook until it becomes a rich, deep coppery brown, syrupy thick and sweet.
Let it cool a little, then pour into a sterilised jar. Store in the fridge and warm it a little when you want to use it.
Make your ice cream. Have a basin of iced water standing by, then halve the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds.
Heat the cream and vanilla seeds in a pan over a medium heat until the surface just shimmers and the liquid is about to simmer, then remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar, stir in a little of the vanilla cream, then add the remaining cream.
Return the mixture to the pan and stir it over a low heat until thickened and the custard coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat and set over the iced water to cool. This mixture can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge.
Once the custard has cooled, fold in the dulce de leche and churn in an ice cream machine or freeze in a suitable container. If you are not using an ice cream machine, stir the ice cream after a couple of hours to break up any large ice crystals. Freeze and eat within one week.
For the fritters, combine the cinnamon and caster sugar in a bowl and set aside.
Sift the icing sugar into another bowl, then whisk together with the egg, flour, milk and baking powder and set aside.
Fill a 10cm-deep wok or frying pan with the oil and place over a medium heat until the temperature reaches 180ºC. The oil is hot enough when a little of the batter sizzles and turns golden immediately. If it is too hot, the fritters will be too crunchy.
Drop dessertspoonfuls of the mixture into the oil – they will rise and sizzle, making puffy, odd-shaped little fritters. Cook 2 to 3 at a time – don’t crowd the pan or the fritters will become soggy.
Using a slotted spoon, constantly turn the fritters over in the hot oil to brown for 5 minutes. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Roll the fritters in the cinnamon mix and serve piping hot with the dulce de leche ice cream on the side.