Pastillas de Ube are soft and chewy Filipino milk candies loaded with purple yam flavor. They’re a delicious sweet treat perfect for anytime cravings or gift-giving.
Every time a family or friend goes to the Philippines for a vacation, I always ask my mother to send back some of our native delicacies, such as yema, pastillas, and polvoron, for me. Have you ever tried Lucia’s pastillas? The bomb! I can eat a box of these milk candies in one sitting.
Unfortunately, as I usually eat a box of these milk candies in one sitting, my precious supply doesn’t last long enough to replenish on time. It’s not like I have a family or friend who goes to the Philippines every week.
Fortunately, I’ve learned how to make pastillas at home, and I can now satisfy cravings year-long. These soft, chewy treats are so easy to whip up; I have different flavors, like pastillas de leche or no-cook caramel, on hand any given day.
What you’ll need?
Purple yam– the recipe uses frozen grated ube, which is available at most Asian grocery stores. Thaw completely before using. If substituting fresh ube, boil or steam until tender and mash until very smooth. Look for creamy tubers, not stringy, as these fibers and veins can affect the texture of the candies.
Condensed milk– adds sweetness and creaminess.
Powdered milk– helps thicken the mixture. For the best flavor, use full-cream powdered milk such as Nido. Skim or nonfat powdered milk will work but won’t taste as rich.
Lime zest– adds a concentrated tangy citrus flavor. Use a microplane, box, or cheese grater to zest the fruit.
Sugar– coats the shaped pastillas, adding texture and sweetness.
Whisk the ube and condensed milk mixture regularly to prevent lumps and from scorching at the bottom. Make sure the consistency is a smooth thick paste before adding the powdered milk for the best texture.
Use a non-stick pan and wooden spoon to make stirring easier.
If the cooked mixture is too soft or sticky to roll, refrigerate for a few minutes until firm to touch.
You can add a few drops of ube extract to boost color and flavor.
Shape the ube pastillas ube mixture into bite-size logs or rounds and roll in sugar. Wrap in colorful cellophane or Japanese paper (papel de hapon).
Unwrapped– store the pastillas mixture in an airtight container and press a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface of the mixture to prevent a film from forming. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Shape the pastillas and roll in sugar when ready to serve.
Wrapped– store the wrapped pastillas in a resealable bag or airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.