Pastillas de leche, or “milk candies” are a creamy Filipino confection created by combining milk and sugar over heat until it forms into a pliable ball. The ball of pastillas de leche is then divided into bite-size candies, rolled in sugar and individually wrapped. Adapted from the Field Guide to Candy by Anita Chu, this recipe calls for the addition of canned jackfruit. With a flavor similar to that of mango, canned jackfruit is soft and can be easily incorporated into pastillas de leche to add flavor without altering its signature texture.
Start to Finish: Around 45 minutes
Servings: Around 50 individual candies
Difficulty Level: Beginner
- 1 1/2 cups milk (use fresh, organic milk, if possible)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered milk
- 1-2 tablespoons canned jackfruit
- Extra sugar for rolling the pastillas de leche in
Step 1: Prepare the Jackfruit
Strain the jackfruit into a fine mesh sieve, pushing down gently on the fruit to remove as much moisture as possible. Finely chop the jackfruit, and, using the side of the knife blade or a fork, mash the jackfruit.
Step 2: Cook the Pastillas de Leche
Add the milk and sugar to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low to medium heat, stirring frequently, until a thick, creamy “dough” forms. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the powdered milk and jackfruit, mixing until they are combined.
Step 3: Sugarcoat the Pastillas de Leche
Sprinkle some sugar onto a flat surface, such as a plate or cutting board. Pinch off a small amount of the pastilla de leche dough and roll it into a 1/2-inch ball or cylinder. Roll the dough in sugar until it is completely coated. Repeat until all of the pastilla de leche dough has been used; you should be able to make around 50 candies.
Step 4: Wrap It Up
Wrap each candy in individual candy wrappers. Pastillas de leche candies will keep for up to two weeks.
Roll the pastillas de leche in colored sugar to create visual appeal or in coconut flakes or crushed cookies to bolster the flavor.
Make the pastillas de leche your own by experimenting with different flavors. Add a splash of vanilla, almond or amaretto extract to subtly punch up the resulting flavor or sneak in a teaspoon or two of lemon or lime zest to add refreshing acidity.