Friday, December 24, 2010

Pastillas de Leche by Lorrie's Sweets

My mother-in-law Nanay Lorrie has been making pastillas (dulce) for many years now. Unlike the moist, sugar-covered pastillas of San Miguel, Bulacan from carabao’s milk, Nanay produce the drier version from cow’s milk, making it less vulnerable to molds and therefore can have 3 weeks of shelf life. 

Her pastillas is sold under the brand name Lorrie’s Sweets, and has been featured many times in early morning TV shows, documentaries, and  in some magazines. She does not advertise her products, and she do not have a retail or distribution outlet, but her regular clients who flock to their home in San Ildefonso, Bulacan do the word-of-mouth promotion for her.

Despite the increasing demand especially during holiday seasons, Nanay maintains the same homemade-level of production. I think her reason is to maintain the consistency of quality through the same 2-3 trained workers doing the tedious handmixing of the pastillas paste. Let me walk you through the making of her unique, pure, and all natural pastillas.
First, they have to get the main ingredient, which is milk or “leche’ in Spanish. The milk that they use come from the cows that are raised by my brod-in-laws, on a farm less than 2 kilometers from the pastillas home. Usually, they use the milk from the mornings’ harvest, pure and unadulterated, transported in clean stainless steel milk containers.

The pure milk is poured in large woks where refined sugar is also added for the original flavor of pastillas. If they are making the other 2 flavors (lime and jackfruit), they also add either the ripe jackfruit meat or the juice derived from the fresh lime’s skin grown on their backyard.

Then, the wok is subjected to medium heat, while the milk-sugar-fruit solution is slowly being mixed by hand. After about an hour, most of the milk’s moisture have evaporated, leaving a denser solution that turns into a pastillas paste eventually. The sugar also caramelize due to the heat, giving the paste a yellowish color.

When the pastillas paste’s texture is just right, they cool it a bit before transfering it in a rectangular board with plastic underliner.

Afterwards, the pastillas paste is cut into bite size pieces, before individually wrapping them in plastic sheets. Later, they are carefully arranged in carton boxes, before giftwrapping the boxes to minimize the effect of humidity. These pastillas usually gets sold in less than 24 hours. At times, the buyers have to watch for a few minutes until the pastillas gets plastic-wrapped and packed in the boxes, so they are really assured that they are freshly made. 

The longer the pastillas are kept, it becomes drier, and the texture turns from soft into hard.

New pastillas flavor made of dragon fruit, also homegrown in their garden, starting Oct. 2011.

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  1. Nice blog very detailed. Na-miss ko tuloy masarap na pastillas ni Nanang Lorrie :)

  2. Great blog!

    I used to sell pastillas in grade school.

  3. New pastillas flavor made of dragon fruit added on the post.