Looking for the perfect sweet treat? Try this Pastillas de Leche recipe! These Filipino candies made with sugar and milk are soft and creamy bites of heaven. Make a big batch for gift-giving or to keep on hand for anytime cravings.
And not the shortcut pastillas using condensed milk, mind you. These are the real deal, authentic Bulacan delicacies made with fresh milk. You’re going to love them, for sure!
What are Pastillas de Leche
Pastillas de leche, also called pastiyema, are a type of Filipino candies that originated from the farmlands of Bulacan province. These confections are traditionally made with carabao milk and sugar along with citrus juice to balance the richness.
What you’ll need
- Carabao Milk– yields a richer, creamier, and more authentic taste. If it’s not available, you can substitute fresh cow’s milk. If using cow’s milk, make sure it’s whole milk, NOT low or non-fat, as the higher concentration of fat will keep it from curdling.
- Powdered Milk– boosts the dairy flavor as well as thickens and adds bulk to the mixture. Use full-cream powdered milk like Nido. Non-fat powdered milk doesn’t dissolve well and yields a grainy texture.
- Butter– adds extra creaminess
- Citrus zest– cuts down on the richness and adds a hint of fresh flavor.
- Granulated Sugar– coats the milk mixture for a touch of sweetness and crunchPastillas are so easy to make, 90% of the work involved is reducing the liquid milk. This process will take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, and please do not cook down the milk at more than a gentle simmer.
When boiled vigorously, milk will curdle and affect the texture of the prepared pastillas. Have faith, my peeps; these sweet treats are worth the wait!
- Regularly stir and scrape the bottom and sides of the pan during cooking to prevent lumps and scorching.
- Use a non-stick pan and wooden spoon to make stirring easier.
- If the cooked mixture is too soft or sticky to roll, chill the refrigerator until firmer.
How to serve and store
- Divide the pastillas mixture into bite-size portions, form into cylindrical or round shapes, and roll in sugar. The candies are traditionally wrapped in colorful cellophane or Japanese paper (papel de hapon).
- These Filipino milk confections are great for gift-giving or to keep on hand for anytime sweet cravings!
- Store the pastillas mixture in an airtight container and press a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface of the mixture to prevent a film from forming. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.
In a wide, nonstick skillet over low heat, combine milk and 2/3 cup of the sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Cook, regularly stirring and scraping sides and bottom of the pan, for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until milk is reduced and mixture turns into a thin paste.
Add lime zest and stir to combine.