Pastillas de Leche with Dayap Rind

A box of superb pastillas de leche is hard to beat… pas1while it is something I associate with the holidays, along with pastillas de ube and other delicacies, this is one sweet that I can eat throughout the year. As long as it is made well, send them over! I have tried hundreds of pastillas de leche in my lifetime and it is amazing how much variety in quality, taste, look and feel from just three basic ingredients… milk, sugar and citrus peel/juice. I was going to attempt to make my own this Christmas season but I never got around to it (did make some pastillas de ube though, post to follow). Thank goodness I have a pretty good source for my pastillas requirements…

I have never made pastillas de leche but as a consumer, pas2I can tell you that I like them soft to medium firmness, with a distinct milk (carabao’s milk, that is) flavor and just the right amount of sweetness. The addition of dayap rind is a necessity for me. Not lemon, not calamansi, but good small native dayap. Yum. Earlier in the year, I considered the pastillas de leche of DVF (available at several upscale markets) to be pretty good, particularly if you got them fresh… soft, flavorful and just the right amount of sweetness, I was content to get a box or two every so often. The pastillas themselves were rather small though reasonably priced at PHP80-90 a box.

Lately, however, I discovered that my egg provedore pas3at FTI in Taguig also sells nice small native dayaps at his stall. I almost always buy every dayap they have as it is hard to find the smaller fruits these days and I find their fragrance to be incredibly appealing, even if just used as a room freshener! At any rate, one day, I spied boxes of pastillas de leche at the same stall and the owner let on that they were made by her niece using fresh carabao’s milk and the dayap from their farm… the taste was absolutely delicious and the dayap flavor really noticeable. And the sizes of the pastillas were generous, the way I recall them 30 years ago… so I have continued to buy from this stall whenever they have them, which is not too often. For Christmas this year, I reserved 10 boxes and even placed a massive deposit…let’s hope they make it to the market this Friday or it will be a pastillas-less Christmas!


22 Responses

  1. Just like you, I love soft to medium firm pastillas! Haven’t eaten them in ages. Couldn’t find a good one in London. Am drooling now…. *_*

  2. Is dayap the same as key limes? Can I use them interchangeably? I’d love to make pastillas de leche. I can get some key limes at the local grocery store here in Ohio, but no luck on the fresh carabao milk!

  3. I think I know what pastillas you are referring to. For many years, a man from San Miguel Bulacan would come to our house every Sunday to deliver pastillas de leche. They come in small boxes wrapped in colorful holiday paper and each one of the pastillas are individually wrapped just like in your picture. He started visiting our house when he was probably in his early 40’s. There would be long stretches wherein he will not show up and my Mom would wonder what happened to him. And then come a knock on the gate and it would be him! He would say that he visited his daughter in Germany or some other country that’s why he was missing for a while. He said he sent all his kids to college selling these things. He also mentioned that none of his kids are interested in continuing his business and that if one day he doesnt show up it means he’s finally hang up his hat and retired. This year on my last trip home, I asked Mom if he’s come on a Sunday. She said it’s been months since the last time. I hope he just retired since he’s now in his 70’s or visiting another child somewhere and that he would still come back to us. What wonderful memories he left us. Of eating those pastillas after our Sunday meal.

  4. Marilou, yes dayap IS key limes…read an earlier post I did on dayap which made its way from the Malayan peninsula all the way to the caribbean and eventually florida… amazing, really… Rampau, something so genuine about foodstuff made with a big heart…

  5. I remember when I was a kid we would go on a road trip from Mandaluyong to Bulacan just to buy pastillas. During my time we bought them from old sisters and we had to call way before and order by the kilo. It is made of carabao milk so we almost always order by the bulk especially if there are balikbayans from our family who would also like to take some back. I remember eating them by the spoonfulls… oops… a kilo would fit the box where they put the individually wrapped pastillas. There would be times when some are candy wrapped too… I guess they ran out of carabao milk and the family had to buy the wrapped ones too. Wow… just remembered taking 2 kilos of it 10 years ago to Taipei and my officemates thought it was weird eating pastillas with a spoon… hehehe. They loved it though… the question is… would anyone be willing to go all the way to Bulacan these days just to buy it?

  6. There was a company (Bulacan sweets? or something like it) that sold pastillas de leche in a jar, like ube jam. I used to send it to a friend of mine who lived on it for a day (she must have inhaled it all). And except for it’s short non-refrigerated shelf life, I have sent it to Germany for a friend who loves them too. Great gifts! MM will your FTI vendor deliver if enough is ordered? Would you be willing to share the number? Thanks!

  7. i do remember seeing bottled pastillas de leche in Sevilla’s along the national highway in San Miguel,Bulacan, this store has been there for generations and i always remember stopping by on our way to Cabanatuan to get boxes and boxes of the stuff.

    in Bacolod, the bottled pastillas de leche is sold as “dulce gatas”, which makes a yummy but very rich ingredient in halo-halo, like the white halo-halo in Pampanga which is a simple concoction of mashed white beans, sweetened bananas and pastillas de leche.

  8. Mila, my vendor is a bit flaky and somewhat unreliable. I just go with the flow and when she has them, thank the food Gods. Otherwise, its a shot in the dark. I don’t even have their number, I just go to the stall with my fingers crossed…

  9. rina, really they bottle these things?? heaven!! i love pastillas de leche. of course, good ones are hard to find. so i even settle for any kind of pdl. i should try that halo halo…

  10. Personally, I prefer the pastillas that come in a bottle — much easier to eat without having to unwrap each and every doodad. Hehehe.

    I didn’t know that dayap were key limes. Hmmm…

  11. Does anyone know a company that delivers to Canada.
    Don’t have any relatives left in the Philippines, so have not been there in over 35 years.

  12. cecilia, I doubt if a freight company would take food through customs in Canada. Actually, it isn’t that hard to make pastillas…I will post a recipe in the run-up to the Christmas holidays, with some alterations, you can make this in Canada…

  13. carolina, yes, fresh milk is possible, but the final product will be missing the characteristic richness or flavor provided by the carabao’s milk…

  14. helo!! im Meliza from rizal..i just want to know what’s the best and affordable ingredients in Pastillas de Leche…
    Thank’s and I hope you will answer my question..
    Goodluck and Godbless

  15. someone told me that i can use condensed milk and powder milk instead of carabao’s milk. i tried them but i can’t make a roll out of it, it’s too soft. how can i make a roll. Thanks a lot.

  16. charrie, I wouldn’t subsitute condensed and powdered milk. Do it right the first time (use carabao or cow’s milk) and sugar and stir slowly until thickened enough (it takes a long time) before rolling out… I would never start with a shortcut version…

  17. Hello , I want to ask a recipe of your pastillas de leche please…

  18. hello, I was browsing the internet looking for pastillas recipe because i am thinking of making it a business here in northern suburb chicago. I’m a filipino myself and love pastillas! I hope you could help me by sending your recipe at
    Thank you very much!



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.