WE all love pastillas. It is that chewy milk-based local confection that is cooked in huge vats by continuous mixing until the mixture is thick. Afterwards, while the pastillas mixture cools down, bite-sized pieces are hand-rolled into short logs, coated with sugar and then wrapped in Japanese paper or cellophane.
The confection is generally called pastillas de leche because it is made mainly with milk (leche). But it comes in different flavors, such as pastillas de ube (purple yam) and pastillas de langka (jackfruit), as well as in different forms, including a hard pastillas that is sliced and wrapped.
Halaya, meanwhile, is a local delicacy or dessert made by boiling a root crop like ube, peeling it and mashing the ‘meat’ and cooking it with milk and sugar much in the same way that pastillas is prepared—except that the halaya stays mousse- or jam-like. The most popular form of halaya is halayang ube, and it goes by the names halaya, haleya and halea, taking after the Spanish word jalea, which means jam.
But have you ever tasted halaya de pastillas? Small jars of it was given away as souvenirs during the opening lunch of Diamond Hotel Philippines’ recent Filipino Culinary Pride food festival held at Corniche. Featured chefs were Chefs Sau del Rosario and Miko Aspiras. Proudly Kapampangan, Chef Sau helped put together the edible souvenirs made using the heirloom recipe of the Carreon family of Pampanga and goes very well with bread.
Exactly what is it? Halaya de Pastillas is a delicacy made from fresh carabao’s milk that is prized for its distinct sweet taste and rich texture.