I have several recipes, mostly frostings and casseroles, that call for heavy or whipping cream. Can I substitute canned milk? Cream spoils before I can use it all.
The answer would be a resounding "maybe."
First, remember that there are two kinds of canned milk. Sweetened condensed milk has had about 60 percent of the water removed and a lot of sugar added. It has a distinctive taste and texture, and should be used only in recipes that call for it.
Evaporated milk has been heated to remove about 60 percent of the water; it's available in whole, low-fat and nonfat varieties. It has a rich, caramelized flavor, but it doesn't have sugar added.
According to Nestle's baking site, verybest baking.com, you can substitute evaporated milk for half-and-half or cream in most recipes with good results. Because it is lower in fat, you might notice a difference in thickening. You also might notice a difference in flavor because it doesn't taste exactly like cream, but you'll have to decide if that difference is acceptable to you.
You also can turn evaporated milk into a low-fat whipped topping by chilling it in the freezer, adding a little confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beating it, a handy trick for people trying to trim the fat from desserts.
Erica Marcus writes for Newsday. E-mail your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send them to Erica Marcus, Food/Part 2, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Road, Melville, NY 11747-4250.