How to Make the Authentic Filipino Milk Candy Pastillas de Leche
Pastillas de leche is one of the well-loved desserts from the Philippines, where people get fresh milk from carabaos or water buffalos and make them into these mini-logs of sweet and succulent milk candies.
Making pastillas is as easy as 1-2-3 and you even need only a couple of main ingredients to make it: milk and sugar.
While cow, goat, or commercial condensed milk may be used, the authentic pastillas de leche from the Philippines makes use of pure carabao’s milk wheedled out of carabaos ploughing the rice fields in the countryside.
What’s the difference? Carabao’s milk is said to be creamier and richer, giving pastillas de leche a distinct, luscious, melt-in-your-mouth tang. Plus, the texture should be extra-smooth, almost velvety.
Carabao’s milk is plenty in the Philippines and in other Southeast Asian countries. Elsewhere in the world, people can buy carabao’s milk in Asian stores.
Genuine Pastillas de Leche – Ingredients and Tools
- 1liter of pure carabao’s milk (substitutes: cow’s or goat’s milk)
- ¾ cup sugar (1/2 cup sugar if cow’s or goat’s milk is used)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ladle for stirring
How to Prepare Pastillas the Traditional Way
- Pour one liter of fresh, pure carabao’s milk into a pan and add in ¾ cup of sugar. If cow’s or goat’s milk was used, cut down the sugar to ½ cup.
- Add ½ teaspoon of cornstarch into the mixture, making sure everything is well-set.
- Put the pan over medium heat. Stir slowly and continuously until the mixture of milk and sugar thickens a bit. Once the mixture is thick, lower the heat.
- Over low heat, continue stirring the gooey milk mixture until it forms into a mass that can be lifted off from the pan with the ladle.
- Put the mass of pastillas into a bowl. Let it cool for a few minutes.
- While waiting for the pastillas de leche to cool, sprinkle ½ teaspoon of cooked cornstarch on a board.
- Once cool, get a small lump of pastillas then roll it onto a board, making logs of milk candies.
- Trim the logs of milk candies into desired length or size.
- Cut out pieces of bond and Japanese paper.
- Place each piece of pastillas into Japanese paper. Then, wrap each of them further into bond paper.
Notes about this Pastillas De Leche Recipe
- It takes more or less 45 minutes to process one liter of fresh carabao’s milk into pastillas de leche.
- That much carabao’s milk can make about 50 pieces of pastillas that each weighs five grams.
- If cow’s or goat’s milk was used, about 40 pieces of pastillas de leche could be made.
Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista
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