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Spud Sunday: Jammy Spuds

Heston’s Potato Milk Jam

When it comes to potatoes, I’ll try anything once, and that includes Heston Blumenthal’s potato milk jam.

As Heston’s recipe over on the Channel 4 website [1] explains, milk jam is better known as dulce de leche (it certainly sounds better when you call it that too). It’s also better described, not as a jam, but as a kind of caramel sauce, one that is, in this case, flavoured with potato skins (I realise at this point that many of you will – perhaps understandably – have run for the hills; for those who are still tuned this way, your reward will be sticky and very sweet).

potato milk jam

Potato Milk Jam - as one of the guests on Heston's show said,
it sounds like the first 3 lines of a shopping list

The recipe – which involves cooking roasted or baked potato skins with milk and sugar for a couple of hours – is utterly simple; the mental leap required to get past the use of potato in something dessert-like is, for many people, considerably harder. I will admit that even I was hedging my bets on this one, quartering Heston’s original recipe so as not to end up with a truckload of sauce that (shock, horror) I might not want to use.

I needn’t have worried – though it is unusual and has an earthy undertone you don’t expect to find in a caramel sauce – I’ll find excuses to use it alright. Heston says to use it as a sweet dip or on toast. I say use it on potato pancakes (perhaps with a bit of melted butter) or, given how well potato and apple work together, try it with some apple tart and vanilla ice cream.

Regarding the recipe itself, the Channel 4 website calls for the skins of some baked potatoes, while on the TV show, Heston used potato skins roasted in some oil and salt. You can use either – with the plain baked potato skin which I used, I did find that I needed to add a little salt to the sauce at the end to temper the potato flavour.

You’ll need:

  • Skin from a medium-sized baked potato
  • 235g demerara sugar
  • 215ml whole milk
  • pinch of salt

You’ll also need:

  • As I was making a fairly small amount, I used a small heavy saucepan (about 18cm) for this – for the original recipe (with ingredients above x4), Heston recommends using a wide-bottomed pan.

The Steps:

  • I would recommend that you remove as much potato flesh as possible from your potato skins before using them here. Apart from anything else, the potato flesh can result in a certain graininess of texture in the final result. Needless to remark, you can use the scooped out potato flesh from your baked potato for any number of things.
  • Place the sugar, milk and potato skins into your pan and place over a medium-low heat (I heated the mixture enough to bring to a gentle simmer and then kept the heat low enough to just maintain that).
  • Cook for about 2 hours, stirring regularly and removing any foam that collects on the surface of the liquid throughout cooking. The mixture should reduce considerably and turn a rich brown colour. The original recipe says that it should gain a thick, spread-like consistency but, really, it’ll be a little more liquid than your average jam – certainly the version Heston made looked that way – though it will thicken somewhat on cooling.
  • Strain the mixture and add a small pinch of salt to taste. Allow to cool and, if not using straight away, reserve in a container in the fridge covered with cling film touching the surface.

The Results:

  • Makes around 100ml of sauce or jam, depending on what you want to call it.