And now for a very dangerous dessert

So I was reading my Frank Sinatra Celebrity Cookbook…

What?  I never said that I wasn’t a dork.  It’s actually a great cookbook, LorettaYoungAutographed012013STloaded with contributions from a lot of Frank’s friends.  One of the little treasures I found in this book was a dessert recipe submitted by the lovely Loretta Young.  This is her here on the left.  Wasn’t she stunning?  She was a movie star in the 30’s and 40’s and then had a TV show in the 50’s, The Loretta Young Show, which I understand was very popular.  The show featured dramatic skits starring, you guessed it, Loretta Young.

Now, I was intrigued when I discovered this recipe, and actually researched it on the internet to determine whether it is a safe undertaking.  And in my research I actually came across a website about Loretta that was hosted by her daughter-in-law, whom I contacted, and who ensured me that recipe was not only safe, but absolutely delicious.

The ingredient list for the main part of this dessert is quite simple.  It actually consists of one item:

photo (48)

It’s sweetened condensed milk.

And what you will do is to boil the sweetened condensed milk, in its can, for three to four hours.

Here it is, about to be boiled:

photo (49)

So here is the dangerous part: you have to keep the can under several inches of water at all times.  Because the contents are under pressure, you must counter that pressure with a high water level.  If you do not continue to add water every so often, the can could explode, showering the kitchen, the cook, and any other bystanders with the hot contents.

Seriously, keep the water level high.  And also, keep a lid over it.

At the end of the boiling, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for an hour in the pot.  After an hour, it will be safe to remove the can from the water and place it in the refrigerator for at least several hours to overnight so that it can cool.

Once it is chilled, open each end of the can with a can opener, and slide the caramel out.  I run a knife around the inside of the can to loosen it.


Once you get it on a plate, lay the cylinder of caramel on  its side and slice it with a sharp knife.  Place a slice of caramel on a dessert plate, top with whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and consume.


This dessert is not only decadent and delightful, it is also a fascinating conversation piece.

And it is perfectly safe.  Loretta Young’s daughter-in-law told me so.

About Joyce

40-year-old university advisor, 10-years married with two small children, trying to do it all and have it all and still manage the occasional social interaction through the wonderful world of blogging.
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20 Responses to And now for a very dangerous dessert

  1. Frank Sinatra Celebrity Cookbook – that is funny.
    However, the food looks great and I am guessing it tastes great. So, that is all that matters to me.

  2. Valerie says:

    That is amazing! I never would have thought it would change like that, from milk to caramel. Very cool (and very dangerous – you’re a brave woman!!) How did it taste? I mean, was it just like regular caramel? I adore caramel cubes. 🙂
    Nice to see you, btw. xo

    • Joyce says:

      It tastes decadent. It occurred to me last night after I had a little bit more that the longer you cook it, the sweeter it gets. The original recipe said 3-4 hours. I’ve done it closer to 3 hours before and it didn’t seem quite so sweet.

      It’s nice to be back! I’ve missed blogging, and I’ve really missed interacting with all my blogging buds!

    • Joyce says:

      Forgot to answer your question – it turns into real caramel.

  3. Joyce, this is possibly the craziest thing I have ever seen. Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme. I’m sure I’ve seen crazier things on Ripley’s Believe it or Not but this is pretty darn crazy! Who would have ever thought of doing this for 4 hours??? I wonder if someone accidentally dropped it in boiling water one time and discovered it 4 hours later and found that it made an amazing dessert!! I actually love sweetened condensed milk and it’s actually on my mental bucket list to just sit down and eat a whole can someday!

    • Joyce says:

      That’s funny! Well if you eat the whole can, make sure you boil it first!

      Either in the book or from the daughter-in-law, I heard that this was what their family did for dessert sometimes during the Depression years – it is quite inexpensive. Loretta’s mother passed “the recipe” on to her when she got married, which strikes me as hilarious.

      Also, I think it might be better to boil it for 3 hours than 4. The recipe says 3-4 hours, and after I had some more last night I realized that when I did it for 3 hours in the past it was not so powerfully sweet.

  4. That’s insane! And totally worth the risk from the looks of it!

  5. st sahm says:

    I pretty much thought you had dropped your basket when I saw the cans in the boiling pot!!

  6. Sofia says:

    Gosh this looks so simple that it seems fascinating!

    • Joyce says:

      It’s a really fun conversation piece. I’ve made it several times. My friend was suggesting ways to bring it to the next level, with perhaps a cookie and a scoop of ice cream. I may try that next.

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