It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth which is great because a lot of Filipino dishes tend to lean on the sweet side with its flavors and ingredients. This also includes the sweet and delicious Filipino confectionaries. I grew up on munching on those sweet bite-sized candies as a kid. Among those said Filipino confectionaries is the pastillas, also known as pastillas de leche or pastiyema.
Everyone I know just calls this sweet milky candy pastillas to make things uncomplicated. Pastillas originated in a town called San Miguel, Bulacan in the central part of Luzon. Traditional pastillas are typically made from carabao milk. It was invented by carabao farmers to share amongst themselves and probably because of how delicious it is, pastillas soon have its own small-scale industry all over the country.
This milky sweet candy gained nationwide popularity due to how easy it is to make. Pastillas is commonly sold on bus stations and bakeries where it’s a common sight to see packets of these candies stacked on top of one another on shelves.
Kids in particular love it. It’s not too cloyingly sweet to eat but it’s also not bland to the point that kids would want to move on to another treat. By the time this carabao-milk confectionary grew in popularity, other regions in the Philippines also caught on how to make pastillas. Today, Provinces like Cagayan and Masbate has their own pastillas making industry with the candy’s popularity in those places never wavering.
Of course, the place of origin of Pastillas won’t be outshined. San Miguel established an annual Pastillas festival every May starting in 2006. The pastillas making industry also created a byproduct in the form of Pabalat or papercut making from the thin pastillas wrappers. I urge anyone to google pabalat images. You’ll thank me later.
I remember in elementary having so much fun making pabalat during home economics, partly because I had to eat a lot of pastillas to obtain its wrappers. It’s on my bucket list to attend the Pastillas Festival in San Miguel one day but alas, I never had the opportunity. There always seems to be something going on with my life when May comes.
I really like Pastillas, not necessarily because it’s the best-tasting confectionary out there but because I can get to eat a huge amount of it without having to worry about my health. Of course, things like pastillas should always be eaten in moderation.
The traditional use of carabao milk or cow milk makes it an acceptable candy that my parents allow me to eat unattended when I was a little kid. Nowadays, recipes for pastillas can use more sugary alternative ingredients so consuming these kinds of pastillas may be less healthy than the ones that followed its traditional recipe.
Speaking of pastillas’s traditional recipe, we’re not doing that here. Yes, we’re doing a modern take on the pastillas recipes using only three ingredients. This is an insanely easy recipe to follow and people can get creative with it.
Since May just a day away and I still won’t be attending the Pastillas Festival in San Juan, I got the urge to make a homemade batch of pastillas. I don’t have carabao milk or fresh cow milk available to make a traditional pastillas recipe. What’s good with this recipe is that its three ingredients can easily be found in the kitchen or buy inexpensively at sari-sari stores.
I’ve known of this pastillas recipe for ages and I never thought that I would share this on this site just because of how simple it is. But I was inspired and went the extra mile to create an accompanying video for this recipe.
Again, it’s incredibly simple, but be sure to eat this moderately as the sugar content can be considered a little too much by many.
All of the three ingredients are listed down below along with the instructions. Better yet, just watch the quick video we made down below to learn how to make this easy pastillas recipe.
How to Make Pastillas
- 1 cup powdered milk
- 1/3 cup condensed milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Combine the powdered milk and the condensed milk in a mixing bowl. Mix well until the texture becomes ready for molding.
- Form a tube shape from the mixture. You can then cut it to small pieces to make tube-shaped pastillas or roll them using your hands to make pastillas balls.
- Coat with sugar for the final touch.
- Wrap each piece with cellophane if desired.
- Serve and enjoy your pastillas!