Pastillas de Macapuno

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… :)


17 Responses

  1. I’m reading your blog here in Dubai Mr. MM. I recently “stumbled” upon your blog when i was searching for Filipino dishes to cook for my preggy wife. Im finding a lot of good stuff here! Yumy Pastillas! Reminds me of the childhood memories im Makati! You might want to feature Mid East Cuisine in your blog as Dubai is a melting pot of cultures! Let me know if you’re looking for some Mid east ingredients as there are a loott of them here.

  2. yes, still looking for the macapuno pastillas of my childhood. waiting for your results, MM. in the meantime, i’m loving the footed compote dish, really nice!

  3. Can’t help but admire your candy dish :) you have exquisite taste in crystal ware.

  4. Now that you mention it, those fake macapuno balls in syrup we get here might very well be following the same formula as the macapuno candy of old. Instead of adding a slurry of tapioca or corn starch to the macapuno cooking in syrup, it will take a lot less time if you cook the starch into a paste in a separate pot first before incorporating it into the syrupy mixture. I find that it takes forever for the starch to cook when mixed with sugar right away.

  5. I suspect those balls had a bit of gelatine in them, I seem to remember a rubbery texture…

  6. please continue with the quest mm! i can’t wait to see the recipe and try to replicate it as macapuno is also a childhood favorite. :))) thanks so much for doing this!!!! I am sure a lot more appreciate your experiments and forays into recreating dishes we once enjoyed.

  7. I love this post! My friends and I were talking about our childhood food favorites the other day. Some of the things that came up were the Magnolia chocolate milk that came in a bottle, the mocha ice cream cup with the paper cover, and ice buko with the monggo on top. Can’t say I remember macapuno candy though. We always had the ube ones. I hope your quest works out :)

  8. carla, ice buko with monggo!!! i’d forgotten about them already and had to try to picture that in my mind. and then i remembered!!! will have to attempt to replicate that although our popsicle molds here are not the nice round ones.

  9. Oh, yeah… those were my favorite too! You had a post on it in your archives and someone made a comment that the tindera’s mom just made the candy with only sugar amd macapuno as the ingredients. But it had a chewy texture too as I remember….so maybe adding something like cassava flour like the one used in pichi pichi. or subbing tapioca starch probably would give it the chewy texture…If I had macapuno here, I will join your experiments! But I will go first with the macapuno vendor’s mom as the base recipe.

  10. when our small coconut tree in front of our house will bear these macapuno.. my mom will make a lot of stuff from it (macapuno jam,pastillas,macapuno pie,fruit salad,halo-halo,ice candy,etc) as far as i can remember the pastillas was made with the primary ingredients of macapuno meat shredded,sugar and tapioca starch however, the proportions i never knew because we were just contented tasting the end products as our snacks/baon :) and never caring about the process, now…i wish i had..if ever your experiment will be A,ok and will be fit for consumption..hehehe….please, please MM and Ms.Bettyq post it here…thanks a lot.

  11. hi, market man. i’m new to your site and i know it is totally out of the topic but where do you think i can buy rose water? i’m from cebu city. is it available in big supermarkets like shopwise? thanks a lot!

  12. yeah love the candy dish i was looking for something like that in the swap meet and i found a pair of chalice shaped glass with cover for $7 i washed it up and i found wax inside so it must be a candle holder, anyway i use it as candy dish and put the pair on my mantle. my husband said puede na daw ako mag -misa dahil mukhang lalagyan ng ostia .

  13. Off-topic, but, MM, have you heard about this?

    I’m happy that a local fruit was used and promoted abroad, and I certainly DON’T begrudge the chef his victory. It was his recipe, and his idea to enter the contest, so he deserves acclaim. I just can’t help but wish, though, that a Filipino had done it. YOU made calamansi marmalade years ago! But then again, it’s a relatively new competition, so not that well-known yet in other countries.

    Once again, I lament how we don’t maximize our unique local fruits. :-/

    But, for now, I’m just glad to have calamansi get more recognition. :-D

  14. MM, try dipping your balls (hahahaha, i meant your failed macapuno balls) in 70% tempered dark chocolate. The bitter chocolate will cut the sweetness of the condensed milk.

  15. Katrina, yes, I did hear about this. And maybe next year, I will manage to get an entry into the contest… The gentleman is based in Bacolod, so he is doing our local produce a great favor… :) Artisan, chocolate dipped balls indeed… hahaha.

  16. hahahaha! this gave me a good laugh!
    have you tried putting rice flour or “galapong” instead of cornstarch? (might work, though i personally haven’t tried it)… or maybe try cooking it with finely shredded cassava, like what they use in pichi-pichi (cause they almost share the same texture)….

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