Finally I managed to take a photo of a slice of Tres Leches served. As everyone was so busy eating it, I have not had a chance to take a photo of it for a long time. Here it is as promised.
Some say it is really challenging to prepare. I agree that there are things you must be careful about, but there are no surprises really if you follow all the steps and be a bit patient about the caramel.
I will not comment about the origins of the dessert about which continent or country it is originated from. However I am pretty sure that it came to Turkey from Albany. There are so many people that are from Albany origin living in Turkey; that this can have no question about it. This dessert has become very popular in Turkey recently. I suspect some celebrity had it on tv and suddenly it is in every house and in every restaurant’s menu.
Here is my tested, tried, approved recipe for it.
To start with you need to separate egg whites and yolks. 5 eggs are needed. I have to confess my 13 year old son has taught me this very practical method. First I resisted, but then it is so much fun and so easy, that I always use this method now. You take a small sized plastic bottle, squeeze it slightly and when you remove the pressure it swallows the egg yolk in. There you have the egg yolk separated.
Now all you need to do is add a pinch of salt to the egg yolks and mix with a mixer until it becomes a thick white foam. The rule is if you turn the bowl upside down and the foam doesn’t spill; it is ready. I am not that courageous, so I just bend the bowl slightly if the foam stays still, it is enough for me.
Then add a glass of sugar to the egg whites, mix shortly. Finally add the already slightly whisked egg yolks and add to the egg whites. Mix again with an electrical mixer very shortly. Now you can set aside the electrical mixer and take a wooden spatula in your hand – you will not use the mixer again as you wouldn’t want the fluffiness of the egg whites go away.
When you add the flour and the remaining ingredients make sure that you mix only as much as necessary to mix the flour. Try to mix softly moving the spatula from bottom to top. When the mixture is smooth pour it into your oven dish. It will not be a too liquid mixture, so you might need to shake it slightly to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed. Then put it in the oven for about 40 minutes at 160 degrees Celcius. It is important that you do not under or over cook. Check with a toothpick whether the cake is ready. When you dip the toothpick in the cake and the tooth pick comes out clean; it means that the cake is cooked.
The cake will be a very light one. So if you choose you can even have it as a cake. If you choose to make the dessert; then cut the cake to small square and make at least 4 little hole with a tooth pick in every square.
The milky mixture is not cooked. You just mix all the ingredients and mix until the milk is bubbly. When the cake is slightly cooled pour it gently all over the cake. Try not to pour the bubbles though. It might seem too much, but the cake will quickly absorb it all. Then it will be a milky cake. When you cut to serve there will be milk in the bottom, and this is how it should be.
When you put the cake to the oven, it is about the right time to start with the caramel. It needs patience and time. The more you wait and mix, the better result you will get. First start with the sugar and the butter. Put them in a skillet over low heat. Keep this as it is – without mixing until the sugar melts totally. Then add cream and milk, while mixing quickly. The sugar might harden at this stage. Do not worry it gradually melts again. Continue almost continuously after you add the cream and milk until you obtain a smooth caramel texture.
When the cake has absorbed the milky mixture you are ready to pour the caramel on top. If there are milky bubbles on top of the cake, either just pat or clean them away with gently with your hand before pouring the caramel. There, your dessert is ready to serve.
Put the dessert into the fridge and serve cold. Some prefer to serve the caramel warm at the very last moment. That is with a cold milk cake with warm caramel sauce. Totally up to you. Enjoy.