I grew up in Mexico City with La Lechera sweetened condensed milk in my family’s pantry. It is an ingredient that is part of my upbringing, it speaks of home to me.
We had it not only for breakfast, dessert, milkshakes, smoothies, snacks and after school treats (drizzled over fresh fruit or spread over Maria cookies). We also poured it on top of baked plantains and sweet potatoes (in my view, it’s all they need to take them to the stratosphere), which in my memory remains one of the sweetest things. It was part of our everyday lives.
My mom and dad worked full time during the week, but my sisters and I always had a flan, pound cake or gelatina to look forward to. Every day of the week.
Now, many years later, I feel so lucky to have it in my American pantry too. I love making those traditional sweet things that nurtured me growing up for my boys, now that I have a family of my own. And we also have so much fun coming up with new recipes and modern spins too!
Yes, for sure, the kitchen gets a lot messier when I am concocting things with my boys, but we have such good times together in the kitchen. The boys get so involved, and to be honest, they have fabulous ideas. Juju and I are now playing with a take on lime pie with fluffy meringue on top. Will keep you posted!
Why an ingredient like this is so versatile comes as no surprise: it is made with whole cow’s milk. The water is removed, hence the condensed, and sugar is added. It was originally a way of preserving milk, to spread the health benefits of that ingredient to more people and also to make it convenient. You can have it handy for so many uses in your pantry at anytime.
Right now, I am sitting at my desk in my office, working away, writing blog posts for you and editing recipes. I am doing so while sipping a strong cup of coffee sweetened with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. Like I do every morning. Sweet.