How to Make Authentic Pastillas de Leche (Filipino Milk Candy)
Pastillas de leche is one of the most well-loved desserts from the Philippines, where people get fresh milk from carabaos or water buffalos and make them into these sweet and succulent milk candies.
Making pastillas is as easy as 1-2-3, and you only need a few main ingredients: milk and sugar.
While cow, goat, or commercial condensed milk may be used, authentic pastillas de leche are made of pure carabao’s milk, which is milked from 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 tang. Plus, the texture should be extra-smooth, almost velvety.
Carabao’s milk is easy to find in the Philippines and in other Southeast Asian countries. Elsewhere in the world, people can buy carabao’s milk in Asian supermarkets.
Pastillas de Leche Recipe
- 1 liter of pure carabao milk (or cow or goat milk)
- ¾ cup sugar (½ cup sugar if using cow or goat milk)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Pour one liter of fresh milk into a pan. Add the sugar.
- Add ½ teaspoon of cornstarch into the mixture, making sure everything is well-stirred.
- Put the pan over medium heat. Stir slowly and continuously until the milk-and-sugar mixture thickens a bit. Once the mixture is thick, lower the heat.
- Continue stirring the gooey milk mixture over low heat until it forms into a ball that can be scooped off the pan with a ladle.
- Put the mixture into a bowl. Let it cool.
- While waiting for the pastillas de leche to cool, sprinkle ½ teaspoon of cornstarch on a cutting board.
- Once cool, roll a small lump of pastillas into a log.
- Trim to desired length or size.
- Cut pieces of bond and Japanese paper.
- Place each piece of pastillas into Japanese paper. Then, wrap each of them once more with bond paper.