Replicating fond childhood food memories can be tricky. I used to love getting “macapuno balls” or candy and popped them into my mouth in quick succession, for a long, chewy, distinctly macapuno-ey mouthful of texture and flavor. These “balls” were always quite “white” and opaque and rolled in sugar. I tried to replicate the balls in a post a few years back, here, made from PURE macapuno preserve, and while they were flavorful and looked similar, they didn’t have the spongey texture I recalled from childhood.
So with my latest batch of homemade macapuno, I decided to experiment with another type of candy, this one with condensed milk. Into a small heavy casserole I added two cups of macapuno preserve, two cups of condensed milk and after about 15 minutes of cooking this down, I added 1/4 cup of water with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in it to the mixture. Cook for another 15 minutes or so until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the casserole and when it looks quite dry, turn off the heat and let it sit for 2-3 hours to cool before you roll them into little portions and roll in caster or fine sugar. Wrap in individual cellophane squares… At least they looked good…
…but they tasted WORSE than my original attempt. A hybrid of concentrated condensed wilk with substantial shreds of macapuno… definite macapuno flavor but marred by the sweetness of the condensed milk. Edible and respectable, but “yucky” compared to vivid and unyielding childhood memories. So it’s back to the drawing board. I suspect the candies I seek have NO condensed milk. Just highly concentrated macapuno, lots of sugar and probably some wicked amount of corn or other starch to hold it together and provide some of that odd texture I seek… The quest continues… And actually, just an hour ago, made another batch that seem to be an 8/10… :)