An aromatic spread brings together cardamom pods with burnt orange zest for a creamy, bittersweet brightness.
The fusing of milk and sugar, a simple union at face value, can result in something creamier than jam, richer than maple syrup, and more complex than honey. Enter milk jam—a sweet, glossy spread that comes together with few steps, a bit of patience, and plenty of gentle stirring. Like all low-and-slow cooking endeavors, it’s a stovetop transformation that’s a worthy time investment. Much like the process behind dulce de leche, allowing a basic mixture of milk, heavy cream, and sugar to gradually cook down until the sugar has fully caramelized—and the dairy has reduced into solids—rewards you with a luscious, golden brown spread.
Popular variations of milk jam are often flavored with earthy, tannic teas, from Earl Grey to matcha to hojicha. In this milk jam recipe by Laurie Ellen Pellicano, the warming flavors of scorched orange peel and crushed cardamom infuse a layer of bitter brightness that builds over time as a mixture of heavy cream, milk, and sugar reduces. Once thick and spreadable, a final showering of burnt orange zest and a pinch of kosher salt tie it all together. The result is less of a candy-like caramel sweetness and instead more of a mellowed-out bittersweetness with toasty, spiced notes.
The obvious choice is to incorporate it into your morning routine and spread your spiced milk jam over a thick slice of your favorite toast—be it brioche, sourdough, or milk bread. Use a spoonful to revive a day-old croissant, or introduce it as a new companion to the nooks and crannies of your waffles. Not in a breakfast mood? Treat it like a custard and pipe it into warm, fluffy doughnuts, or give your alfajores filling an aromatic, bittersweet twist.