Pastillas de Leche


Pastillas de Leche is a type of food that originated in the Philippines.  Described as a milky, powder-like food, the meal is usually served as a sweet side dish or desert for people to finish their meals with.  Typically, a single batch of pastillas de leche will consist of about thirty small rolls.  To make pastillas de leche, one will need: five cups of whole milk; three quarters of a cup of powdered milk; one cup of sugar; and two tablespoons of butter.

To make pastillas de leche, one must first pour milk and two-thirds of a cup of sugar into a saucepan or a pot, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Then, one must bring the saucepan to a simmer until the mixture is reduced to a paste-like consistency.  While doing this, one should also scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan to prevent sticking, and keep it at a low boil to prevent burning.  This process can take around half an hour to an hour to complete.  Once the texture is thick and paste-like, add butter and milk powder.  Stir until the mixture is homogeneous.

The mixture should be cooked for a couple more minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick, soft, and doughy.  Once it reaches this consistency, transfer the mixture to a slightly-oiled or buttered bowl, and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.  Once the mixture has cooled, roll it into thirty rolls that are each around an inch long.  Use the leftover sugar to coat the pastillas; roll each one into the sugar.  Traditionally, the pastillas are rolled into food-wrapping paper for serving, but there’s no consequence if one decides to not wrap the pastillas de leche into these wrapping papers.


The subject, L.D., first learned of this recipe from their aunt, who lives in the Philippines.  According to the subject, pastillas de leche is a traditional food to serve in the Philippines, and was historically served as either a desert or a side dish for people to finish their meal with.  Pastillas de leche were also often brought to parties and shared with family and close friends.


Pastillas de leche are most likely meant to be a communal food, due in large part to the huge batches that are made at a time and the way they are meant to be shared and eaten amongst friends and family.  Pastillas de leche is meant to be a food that encourages feelings of communal understanding amongst its consumers, and is also meant to be a food that is made with the intention of making sure that everyone going to a social event or function is able to have at least one, and share in the sweetness of the food with everyone else there.  Likely, pastillas de leche are also meant to be something that is not particularly filling, given its small size, adding to the sense of everyone being able to share in it, regardless of how full or hungry they are.