Taste the Tropics: 28 Must-Try Filipino Desserts

Filipino desserts

If you’re a fan of desserts, you’re in for a treat with Filipino desserts. The Philippines is home to a wide variety of sweet treats that are not only delicious but also steeped in culture and history. From creamy flan to shaved ice desserts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Filipino desserts are not just tasty treats, they also have a rich cultural significance. Many of these desserts have been passed down from generation to generation and are an important part of Filipino cuisine. Each dessert has its own unique story and history and we’ll be talking a little about each in this article.


The Sweet Tooth in Filipino Culture

Filipinos are known for their love of sweets, and it’s not just a recent trend. The sweet tooth in Filipino culture can be traced back to pre-colonial times when sugarcane was already being cultivated. Over time, the country’s many cultural influences and local ingredients have given rise to a variety of unique and delicious Filipino sweets.

The Role of Ingredients in Filipino Desserts

Filipino desserts are known for their unique and delicious flavors, which are created by using a variety of ingredients. From rice and milk to coconut and sugar, each ingredient plays an important role in creating these sweet treats.

Rice is a staple ingredient in many Filipino desserts, such as puto and suman. These desserts are made by steaming glutinous rice and adding different flavors like pandan or ube. Another popular dessert that uses rice is mais con yelo, which is made by combining sweet corn, shaved ice, and evaporated milk.

Milk is also a common ingredient in Filipino desserts. It is used to make custards like leche flan and egg pie, as well as cakes like mamon. Coconut milk is another popular ingredient, which is used to make desserts like buko pandan and coconut macaroons.

Brown sugar and sugar are often used to sweeten Filipino desserts. Minatamis na saging, for example, is made by caramelizing brown sugar and adding sliced bananas. Another dessert that uses sugar is polvoron, a buttery cookie made with powdered milk and sugar.

Ube, or purple yam, is a unique ingredient that is used in many Filipino desserts. Ube jam, ube ice cream, and ube crinkle cookies are just a few examples of desserts that use this vibrant purple ingredient.

Jackfruit, pandan, corn, cassava, and syrup are also common ingredients used in Filipino desserts. Buko salad, for example, is made with young coconut, nata de coco, and sweetened condensed milk. Sago pearls are used in desserts like halo-halo, a popular Filipino dessert that also includes shaved ice, evaporated milk, and various fruits and beans.

Carioca, banana cue, tapioca pearls, and banana lumpia are other popular desserts that use unique ingredients like yuca and arnibal. Lengua de gato, a type of butter cookie, is made with grated cassava and grated coconut.

Each of these ingredients plays a vital role in creating the unique flavors and textures of Filipino desserts.

Traditional Filipino Desserts

Bibingka (Filipino Rice Cake)

Bibingka is a type of rice cake made with coconut milk and rice flour. It is traditionally cooked in a clay pot lined with banana leaves and topped with salted egg, cheese, and coconut shreds. Bibingka is often served during the Christmas season and is a staple in Filipino Christmas celebrations.

Savor the enchanting delight of this festive Filipino treat—a fluffy rice cake, sweetened to perfection. Crafted with care using a blend of white and sweet rice flours, full-fat coconut milk, sugar, an egg, baking powder, salt, and melted butter. Enhance its allure with a banana leaf for baking and a topping of luscious macapuno. Pure bliss!

Prepare this delectable creation by whisking together the melted butter, sugar, egg, coconut milk, baking powder, salt, and rice flours. Pour the batter into a cake or cast iron pan, baking until the edges start to set. Layer macapuno on top and continue baking until fully set. Sprinkle with sugar and broil for a caramelized, lightly charred bibingka. Serve warm, accompanied by a steaming cup of coffee or tea.

Biko (Filipino Sticky Rice Cake)

Embark on a journey of exquisite Filipino flavors with Biko—a luscious delicacy where glutinous rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar unite in perfect harmony. Simple yet tantalizing, this culinary masterpiece requires only a handful of ingredients: glutinous rice, coconut milk, water, and the transformative touch of brown sugar.

To create this enchanting treat, begin by immersing the sticky rice in a fragrant blend of coconut milk, water, and pandan leaves, infusing it with irresistible aroma and flavor. As the rice nears its tender state, it gracefully merges with the alluring embrace of the Latik syrup, gently folding into a symphony of sweet perfection.

Transferred to a greased pan, the Biko awaits its crowning glory—an additional drizzle of luscious Latik syrup. Baked to perfection, the topping transforms into a bubbling, caramelized masterpiece, ready to captivate your senses.

Ginataang Bilo-Bilo with Langka (Jackfruit)

Ginataang Bilo-Bilo with Langka is a beloved Filipino snack that captures the essence of delightful flavors. It brings together soft glutinous rice balls, creamy coconut cream, a touch of sweetness from sugar, chewy sago pearls, and the tropical goodness of ripe jackfruit. This delectable dish presents a simplified version of the classic Ginataang Halo-Halo, ensuring a quick and satisfying culinary experience.

To prepare this delightful snack, begin by combining water and coconut cream in a pot and bringing it to a gentle boil. Gradually add sugar and ripe jackfruit, allowing them to cook together for about 15 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and infuse into the luscious coconut milk base.

Next, introduce the glutinous rice balls, ensuring they are evenly distributed in the pot. Let them simmer for another 15 minutes, giving an occasional stir to prevent sticking. If the mixture appears to be drying out, you can adjust by adding a bit more water or coconut cream.

Lastly, add the sago pearls and continue cooking for a few more minutes until they turn delightfully chewy. For an extra hint of aromatic richness, consider incorporating a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

You can enjoy this dish warm as an afternoon snack or cold for breakfast.

Ginataang Mais (Sweet Rice Pudding with Corn)

Ginataang Mais is a comforting Filipino dessert that brings warmth and sweetness to the palate. This traditional recipe calls for just four simple ingredients: glutinous rice, coconut milk, canned corn, and granulated sugar.

To prepare this delightful dish, combine the rice and coconut milk in a saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking the rice, stirring frequently to prevent clumping. As the rice nears its desired tenderness, add the corn and sugar. Allow it to cook for a few more minutes until the rice is tender and most of the coconut milk has been absorbed.

Ginataang Mais is commonly served warm, offering a cozy sensation with every spoonful. However, if you prefer a cooler treat, it can also be enjoyed chilled. Whichever way you choose, this quick and easy dessert will be ready to savor in less than 30 minutes, providing a delightful taste of Filipino culinary comfort.

Halo-Halo (Filipino Shaved Ice Dessert)

Halo-Halo, which means “mix-mix” in Tagalog, is a refreshing Filipino dessert that layers shaved ice and condensed milk on top of a variety of ingredients, creating a delightful mix of textures.

The ingredients for this version include lime zest, mango nectar, ripe mangoes, unflavored powdered gelatin for the mango jelly, sugar, egg yolks, unsweetened coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, yellow corn, vegetable oil, small sago pearls, sweetened shredded coconut, pandan or regular sweetened condensed milk, sliced strawberries, macapuno, drained palm seeds, sweetened red beans, and store-bought toasted pinipig.

The process involves making a mango jelly, a flan, and a corn and assembly. The mango jelly is made by blending lime zest, lime juice, mango nectar, half of mangoes, and a small pinch of salt until very smooth, then adding gelatin and water.

The flan is made by cooking sugar and water, then whisking egg yolks, coconut milk, condensed milk, vanilla, and salt together and pouring it into the caramel. The corn and assembly involve roasting corn with sugar, salt, and oil, cooking sago pearls with water and coconut milk, and toasting coconut. The flan, mango jelly, and other ingredients are then layered in a tall glass or wide bowl.

Leche Flan (Filipino Custard Dessert)

Leche Flan is a popular Filipino dessert composed of a creamy custard atop a pool of homemade caramel. The ingredients are simple: sugar, water, evaporated milk, condensed milk, egg yolks, and vanilla extract.

To make this dessert, you start by boiling sugar and water to create a caramel, which is then poured into a flan mold. Next, you combine evaporated milk, condensed milk, egg yolks, and vanilla extract in a bowl, stirring lightly to prevent bubbles or foam from forming.

This mixture is then strained slowly into the caramel-lined flan mold and covered with aluminum foil. The flan is baked in a water bath in the oven until firm. After cooling, you run a knife around the edges of the flan and flip it over onto a platter for serving.

Maja Blanca (Special Coconut Pudding)

Maja Blanca is a Filipino-style coconut pudding made extra delicious with evaporated and condensed milk. It’s sweet, creamy, and topped with latik (a type of coconut curd), making it a delightful snack or dessert. The ingredients include coconut cream, coconut milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, sugar, sweet kernel corn, and cornstarch.

To make this dessert, you start by boiling coconut cream to make latik, which is then drained and set aside. Next, you combine coconut milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and sugar in a pot and bring it to a gentle boil. Add corn and cook for a few minutes.

Then, you add a cornstarch-water mixture to thicken the dessert. The mixture is transferred into a baking dish, allowed to cool, and then refrigerated until set. Finally, the dessert is topped with latik before serving.

Puto (Filipino Steamed Rice Cakes)

Puto is a classic Filipino dessert that’s light, airy, and slightly sweet. It’s a steamed rice cake that’s often served at family parties and gatherings. The ingredients for this recipe are simple: egg white, water, coconut milk, rice flour, baking powder, white sugar, and optional Velveeta cheese for topping.

To make Puto, you start by whisking together the egg white, water, and coconut milk. Then, you sift the rice flour and baking powder into the wet ingredients and mix them together.

Add the sugar to the batter and mix until combined. The batter is then scooped into mini muffin molds and steamed for about eight minutes until the Puto is fluffy and firm. If you’d like, you can add a slice of cheese on top of each Puto and let it melt slightly before serving.

Puto is best enjoyed immediately to experience its fluffy and airy texture, but it can also be stored in the fridge for a few days.

Sapin-Sapin (Layered Rice Cake Dessert)

Sapin-Sapin is a colorful, layered Filipino dessert. To make it, steam various cake mixtures made of rice flour, coconut milk, condensed milk, sugar, and water. Each layer is distinct in flavor, like the purple layer with ube halaya and the yellow or orange layer with jackfruit. The white layer remains plain. Before serving, the dessert is typically garnished with latik, which is caramelized coconut flakes.

To make Sapin-Sapin, you start by preparing the budbod topping by cooking desiccated coconut until it turns light brown, then adding sugar and cooking until it becomes brown. For the Sapin-Sapin mixture, you combine glutinous rice flour, rice flour, sugar, coconut milk, and condensed milk, then divide the mixture into three equal parts.

Each part is colored with food coloring or flavoring, then allowed to rest for 30 minutes before steaming. Each layer is steamed separately, with the first layer steamed for about 8 minutes, the second layer for 10 minutes, and the third layer for 15 minutes.

Once all layers are cooked and cooled, the Sapin-Sapin is unmolded and topped with the budbod topping.

Suman Malagkit (Sticky Rice Roll)

Suman Malagkit is a traditional Filipino dessert made with glutinous rice, coconut milk, and sugar, then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. The ingredients include glutinous rice, salt, coconut milk, banana leaves for wrapping, water for boiling, and sugar.

To make Suman Malagkit, you start by soaking the glutinous rice in water for 2 to 3 hours, then draining it well. Meanwhile, prepare the banana leaves by cutting them into sheets and briefly passing them over flames.

In a pot, you mix coconut milk, salt, and sugar on medium heat, then add the glutinous rice and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed. The rice mixture is then placed on the banana leaves, rolled tightly, and steamed for 30 minutes to one hour.

The Suman Malagkit is best served with sugar, sweetened grated coconut, latik (caramelized coconut cream), or ripe mango.

Dessert Key Ingredients Traditional Cooking Method Occasions/Significance
Bibingka Coconut milk, rice flour, salted egg, cheese, coconut shreds Baked in a clay pot lined with banana leaves Often served during Christmas season and Filipino Christmas celebrations
Biko Glutinous rice, coconut milk, brown sugar Cooked on the stovetop with coconut milk and brown sugar Popular during special occasions and festivals, like birthdays and fiestas
Ginataang Bilo-Bilo Glutinous rice balls, coconut cream, sugar, sago pearls, ripe jackfruit Simmered in coconut cream with sugar, then combined with other ingredients Enjoyed as a snack or dessert any time of the year
Ginataang Mais Glutinous rice, coconut milk, canned corn, granulated sugar Simmered together with coconut milk, corn, and sugar A comforting dessert commonly enjoyed during rainy seasons
Halo-Halo Shaved ice, condensed milk, various ingredients such as mango, gelatin, sweetened coconut, and red beans Layered mixture of ingredients, topped with shaved ice and condensed milk A popular summer dessert known for its refreshing and diverse flavors
Leche Flan Sugar, water, evaporated milk, condensed milk, egg yolks, vanilla extract Baked in a caramel-coated mold Often served as a dessert for special occasions or celebrations
Maja Blanca Coconut cream, coconut milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, sugar, sweet kernel corn, cornstarch Cooked on the stovetop, thickened with cornstarch Commonly served during festivities and special gatherings
Puto Egg white, water, coconut milk, rice flour, baking powder, sugar Steamed in mini muffin molds Enjoyed as a snack or served during merienda (afternoon snack)
Sapin-Sapin Rice flour, coconut milk, condensed milk, sugar, water, ube halaya (purple layer), jackfruit (yellow/orange layer), and latik (caramelized coconut flakes) Steamed and layered with different flavored mixtures Often served as a festive dessert, especially during special occasions
Suman Malagkit Glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar, banana leaves Steamed in banana leaves Popular as a snack or dessert, especially during holidays and family gatherings

Popular Filipino Desserts

Banana Cue (Fried Skewered Plantains)

Banana Cue is a popular Filipino snack made with saging na saba (Asian plantains), brown sugar, and cooking oil. This sweet treat is often enjoyed as a mid-afternoon snack and is a staple street food in the Philippines.

To make Banana Cue, you start by heating cooking oil in a pot. Once the oil is hot, you deep fry the bananas for 2 minutes. Then, you gradually add brown sugar, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue cooking until the melted brown sugar coats the bananas.

After the bananas are coated, you remove them one by one and immediately skewer them using a bamboo skewer. Two pieces per skewer is recommended. Let it cool and serve with a cold soda for a refreshing treat!

Buko Pandan (Coconut and Pandan Dessert)

Buko Pandan Salad is a delightful Filipino dessert that combines the tropical flavors of young coconut and pandan. The ingredients include green agar-agar bars, coconut juice, sugar, pandan extract, shredded young coconut, Nata de coco, Kaong (sugar palm fruit), table cream, and sweetened condensed milk.

To make Buko Pandan Salad, you start by soaking and boiling the agar-agar in coconut juice until it’s completely dissolved. Add sugar and a few drops of pandan extract to the mixture, then pour it into a flat dish and let it cool until it sets.

Once set, cut the gulaman into small cubes. In a large bowl, combine the gulaman cubes, shredded young coconut, Nata de coco, Kaong, table cream, and sweetened condensed milk. Add a few more drops of pandan extract for flavor and color, then chill the salad for a couple of hours before serving.

This dessert is best enjoyed well-chilled, making it a refreshing treat on a hot day!

Espasol (Sticky Rice Delicacy)

Espasol is a delightful Filipino rice cake hailing from Laguna. It’s a straightforward treat made with toasted glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, and a hint of vanilla extract. This delicacy is not only a popular snack but also a commonly given ‘Pasalubong,’ a gift upon returning home.

To make Espasol, you start by toasting the glutinous rice flour in a skillet over medium-low heat until it turns slightly brown. Meanwhile, combine coconut milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt in a pot and bring it to a boil until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Gradually pour the liquid into the center of the toasted rice flour, stirring continuously from the middle going out. Keep stirring until it forms a sticky dough. The dough is then transferred to a flat surface dusted with toasted rice flour, flattened, cut into logs, and rolled in more toasted rice flour.

This recipe is quite straightforward, but it does require some muscle work due to the stickiness of the dough. But don’t worry, the effort is well worth it for these deliciously squishy treats!

Mais Con Yelo (Sweet Corn with Ice)

Mais Con Yelo is a refreshing Filipino dessert that’s perfect for a hot, humid afternoon. The main ingredients are sweet yellow corn (you can use canned or frozen), shaved or crushed ice, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and sugar. Optional toppings include cheese (keso), banana (saging na saba), and cornflakes.

To make Mais Con Yelo, you start by layering sweet corn and shaved ice in a glass. Then, you add milk and sugar, adjusting the quantities to taste. If you like, you can add other ingredients like cheese, banana, or cornflakes. The dessert is best served immediately. For an extra special touch, you can top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Palitaw (Sweet Rice Cake)

Palitaw is a delightful Filipino snack made from glutinous rice, coated with grated coconut and sugar, and sometimes sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds. This sweet rice cake is chewy, filling, and incredibly easy to make.

To make Palitaw, you start by combining glutinous rice flour and water (or coconut milk for extra flavor) to form a soft, pliable dough. The dough is then shaped into small balls and flattened before being dropped into boiling water. Once the rice cakes float to the surface, they’re done! The cooked rice cakes are then rolled in a mixture of grated coconut and sugar, and optionally sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds.

This recipe is as simple as it gets, but the result is a deliciously satisfying snack that’s perfect for an afternoon treat or a dessert.

Pan de Coco (Coconut Bread)

Pan de Coco is a soft and sweet Filipino bread roll filled with sweetened coconut and then baked until golden brown. This bread is a staple in local bakeries or panaderias all over the Philippines.

The ingredients for the bread include warm milk, sugar, active dry yeast, all-purpose flour, salt, and an egg. For the filling, you’ll need coconut milk, brown sugar, shredded coconut, and salt. An egg wash made from an egg and water is used to give the bread a beautiful golden color.

To make Pan de Coco, you start by combining warm milk, sugar, and yeast and letting it stand until it becomes foamy and bubbly. Then, in a large bowl, you stir the yeast mixture, flour, sugar, salt, and egg until the dough sticks together in a ball and becomes smooth and elastic.

After the dough has risen, you divide it into 12 equal pieces, roll each piece into a ball, then flatten it. You place a heaping tablespoonful of the coconut filling on each piece of dough, fold the dough over the filling, and pinch to seal. After a second rise, you brush the rolls with egg wash and bake them until golden brown.

Turon (Crispy Filipino Banana & Jackfruit Lumpia)

Turon, also known as banana lumpia, is a popular Filipino dessert that features sweet, citrusy saba bananas and juicy jackfruit slices encased in a fried and crunchy spring roll wrapper, all drizzled with a sweet caramel sauce.

The ingredients for Turon include ripe saba bananas, jackfruit, dark brown sugar, spring roll wrappers, and a neutral cooking oil for frying. For the caramel coating, you’ll need white sugar.

To make Turon, you start by preparing the bananas and jackfruit, coating the banana slices lightly with brown sugar, and placing them on the spring roll wrappers. The jackfruit strips are placed on top of the banana slices. The wrappers are then rolled up and sealed with water. The Turon is deep-fried until golden brown, and a caramel sauce is prepared separately and drizzled over the fried Turon.

This dessert is a delightful combination of textures and flavors, with the soft and sweet banana and jackfruit filling contrasting beautifully with the crispy, caramel-coated wrapper.

Ube Halaya (Purple Yam Jam)

Ube Halaya, or Purple Yam Jam, is a vibrant, sweet, and creamy dessert that’s a staple in Filipino cuisine. The key ingredients include purple yam (ube), sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, evaporated milk, butter, and sugar.

To create Ube Halaya, you begin by melting butter in a deep pan and adding the purple yam and coconut milk. This mixture is brought to a boil and cooked for about 15 minutes. The cooked yam mixture is then pureed until smooth. The puree is returned to the pan, and the remaining ingredients are added. The mixture is simmered on medium-low heat, with regular stirring, until it becomes thick and heavy. The mixture is then divided into greased molds and allowed to cool to room temperature before being refrigerated for at least 2 hours.

Ube Halaya can be enjoyed as is, or it can be topped with ‘latik’ (caramelized coconut curds) or grated cheese for added flavor. It’s a versatile dessert that can also be used as a base for other purple yam treats, such as ube ice cream, ube pandesal, and ube cake.

Yema (Egg-Yolk Based Candy)

Yema is a traditional Filipino candy that’s both quick and easy to make. This sweet treat is made from egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, a hint of lemon zest, and crushed nuts for a bit of crunch.

The process of making Yema is simple. You start by combining the egg yolks, condensed milk, and lemon zest in a bowl until well-blended. This mixture is then transferred to a non-stick pan and cooked over low heat, stirring regularly to prevent burning. The mixture is cooked until it becomes thick enough to hold its shape. Once the mixture has cooled down, it’s scooped onto pieces of cellophane wrap, molded into a pyramid shape, and wrapped up.

Yema can be enjoyed as is, or you can add a creative twist by using different colored wraps or adding different types of nuts. It’s a versatile dessert that can be customized to suit your taste.

Dessert Key Ingredients Traditional Cooking Method Occasions/Significance
Banana Cue Saba bananas, brown sugar, cooking oil Deep-fried and coated with melted brown sugar Popular Filipino street food and mid-afternoon snack
Buko Pandan Green agar-agar bars, coconut juice, sugar, pandan extract, shredded young coconut, Nata de coco, Kaong, table cream, sweetened condensed milk Boiled agar-agar, combined with other ingredients, chilled before serving A refreshing dessert commonly enjoyed in parties and gatherings
Espasol Toasted glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla extract Toasted rice flour mixed with coconut milk and sugar, formed into logs and rolled in rice flour A popular snack and “Pasalubong” (homecoming gift)
Mais Con Yelo Sweet corn, shaved ice, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, sugar Layering sweet corn and shaved ice, adding milk and sugar, optional toppings Refreshing dessert, perfect for hot days
Palitaw Glutinous rice flour, water (or coconut milk), grated coconut, sugar, roasted sesame seeds Shaping the dough, boiling until cooked, coating with grated coconut and sugar A chewy and satisfying snack or dessert
Pan de Coco Warm milk, sugar, active dry yeast, all-purpose flour, salt, egg, coconut milk, brown sugar, shredded coconut Mixing and shaping the dough, filling with sweetened coconut, baking until golden brown A sweet bread roll filled with coconut, commonly found in local bakeries
Turon Saba bananas, jackfruit, brown sugar, spring roll wrappers, cooking oil, white sugar Coating bananas and jackfruit with brown sugar, wrapping in spring roll wrappers, frying until golden brown A popular Filipino dessert, often served as a snack or street food
Ube Halaya Purple yam (ube), sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, evaporated milk, butter, sugar Cooking and pureeing the purple yam, combining with other ingredients, simmering until thick A vibrant and creamy dessert, often used as a base for other ube treats
Yema Egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, crushed nuts Mixing egg yolks, condensed milk, and lemon zest, cooking until thick, molding into pyramids Traditional Filipino candy, easy to make and customize

Unique Filipino Desserts

Carioca (Fried Sticky Rice Balls with Coconut Caramel Sauce)

Carioca is a delightful Filipino dessert that’s made from glutinous rice flour, sweetened shredded coconut, and coconut milk. These ingredients are combined to form a dough, which is then shaped into balls and deep-fried until they’re lightly browned.

The Carioca balls are then coated in a homemade caramel sauce made from coconut cream, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. The sauce is cooked until it thickens, and then the fried balls are dipped into it.

These sweet treats can be served individually or skewered, and they’re best enjoyed fresh. The combination of the chewy rice balls with the sweet and creamy coconut caramel sauce is truly irresistible!

Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge)

Champorado is a traditional Filipino breakfast dish that can also be enjoyed as a snack. It’s a chocolate rice porridge that’s rich, comforting, and easy to make.

The main ingredients for Champorado include glutinous rice, unsweetened cocoa powder (or tablea, a type of unrefined chocolate made with pure roasted and ground cocoa beans, if available), sugar, and water. Some people also like to add a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk on top for extra creaminess.

To make Champorado, you start by boiling the water and then adding the rice. While the rice is cooking, you dissolve the cocoa powder or tablea in some hot water and then add this mixture to the rice. You continue to cook the rice until it’s almost done, and then add the sugar. The mixture is cooked for a few more minutes until it thickens slightly. It’s served hot, with a drizzle of condensed milk or evaporated milk, if desired.

Pastillas de Leche (Milk Candies)

Pastillas de Leche is a sweet and creamy Filipino candy that’s made from a combination of milk, heavy cream, sugar, and powdered whole milk.

To make Pastillas de Leche, you start by simmering the milk and heavy cream in a skillet until the mixture is reduced by half. You then add sugar and salt, and continue to cook until the mixture becomes a thick paste. Once the mixture has cooled, powdered milk is added and stirred until a sticky dough forms. The dough is then chilled, rolled into cylinders, and cut into bite-sized pieces.

The candies can be enjoyed as they are, or for an extra touch of sweetness, they can be rolled in sugar before serving. These candies are a delightful treat that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

Puto Bumbong (Steamed Purple Rice Cake)

Puto Bumbong is a traditional Filipino dessert that’s often enjoyed during the Christmas season. It’s a steamed, cylindrical rice cake that’s made from purple glutinous rice and served with margarine, grated coconut, and palm sugar granules.

The ingredients for Puto Bumbong include glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, and ube flavoring. For the toppings, you’ll need grated coconut, optional grated cheese, softened butter, brown sugar, and optional condensed milk.

To make Puto Bumbong, you start by combining the glutinous rice flour and ube flavoring in a bowl, then gradually adding coconut milk to form a dough. The dough is then chilled for at least 30 minutes. After chilling, the dough is grated to create grain-like pieces.

These pieces are packed tightly into foil and then steamed for 10 minutes. Once cooked, the Puto Bumbong is removed from the foil, spread with butter, and topped with freshly grated coconut and muscovado sugar.

Sorbetes (Filipino ice cream)

Sorbetes, also known as Filipino Ice Cream, is a delightful treat that’s often sold from street carts in the Philippines. This homemade version uses powdered milk, coconut milk, evaporated milk, sugar, and cornstarch as the base.

To make Sorbetes, you start by mixing all the ingredients until the mixture becomes foamy. This mixture is then boiled for 15 minutes to eliminate any microbes or bacteria, and then set aside to cool. Once cooled, you can add your desired flavoring, which can be anything from artificial flavors like vanilla, lemon, or chocolate, to real fruit flavors like mango, ube, or cheese.

The mixture is then put into the freezer until it’s half-frozen. After this, it’s mixed again until it becomes a thick mass. The ice cream is transferred to a round stainless container, covered, and placed in a wooden push cart with lots of crushed ice and salt between the containers. After about 20 minutes, the ice cream should be hard and ready to enjoy!

Tibok-Tibok (Carabao’s Milk Pudding)

Tibok-Tibok is a traditional Filipino dessert from the province of Pampanga. It’s a milk pudding made from carabao’s milk, which gives it a rich and creamy texture. The main ingredients for this recipe are carabao’s milk (or cow’s milk as an alternative), granulated sugar, and cornstarch. It’s also topped with latik, which are toasted coconut milk curds.

To make Tibok-Tibok, you start by combining the sugar and cornstarch with a portion of the milk to create a smooth mixture. The rest of the milk is heated in a pan, and then the sugar-cornstarch mixture is added through a sieve to ensure a smooth texture. The mixture is cooked while stirring constantly until it thickens and starts to bubble. It’s then transferred to a greased container, allowed to cool to room temperature, and then refrigerated to set.

The result is a delicate, silky smooth pudding that melts in your mouth. It’s typically served with latik on top, adding a delightful crunch and extra layer of flavor to this creamy dessert.

Tikoy (Sticky Rice Cake)

Tikoy, also known as Nián gāo, is a popular Chinese New Year’s cake that has been adopted into Filipino culture. It’s a sweet, sticky rice cake made from glutinous rice flour, water, and sugar. The mixture is steamed until set and then allowed to dry and harden for longer storage.

To make Tikoy, you start by combining sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Then, you gradually add this mixture to the glutinous rice flour, whisking until you have a smooth, lump-free batter. The batter is transferred to a greased pan and steamed for about an hour. Once cooked, the Tikoy is allowed to cool completely before being removed from the pan.

The Tikoy is then wrapped in plastic film and refrigerated for several hours or overnight. When you’re ready to enjoy it, you slice the Tikoy into thin pieces, dip them in beaten eggs, and pan-fry them until they’re golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside.

Turrón de Manila (Banana Lumpia with Ice Cream)

Turrón de Manila is a delightful twist on the traditional Filipino dessert, Turon. This version includes a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dusting of coffee powder for an extra layer of flavor. The main ingredients for this recipe are saba bananas, lumpia wrappers, jackfruit, flour or cornstarch, oil for deep-frying, white sugar, vanilla ice cream, a dash of whiskey, and coffee powder for dusting.

To make Turrón de Manila, you start by peeling and slicing each banana lengthwise into six strips. On each piece of the cut spring roll wrapper, you arrange one banana strip with one or two strips of jackfruit. The wrappers are then rolled into small cylinders and sealed at the end with a little flour or cornstarch dissolved in water.

Deep-fry the rolls in a preheated pot with oil on medium heat. Toss them constantly and sprinkle sugar gradually. This caramelizes the sugar and covers each roll. After cooking, place the rolls on a tray rack to cool and remove excess oil. Serve the Turrón de Manila with a scoop of whiskey-infused vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of coffee powder.

Ube Macapuno Cake (Purple Yam Cake with Coconut)

Ube macapuno cake is a sweet and moist cake made from purple yam (ube) and coconut sport (macapuno). It is often served during special occasions, such as birthdays and weddings. This dessert combines two of the most popular ingredients in Filipino cuisine.

Ube Macapuno Cake is a vibrant, purple yam cake that’s a favorite in Filipino cuisine. The cake is made from grated ube (purple yam), flour, baking powder, salt, milk, vanilla, egg yolks, corn syrup, and oil. It’s filled with macapuno, which are sweetened coconut strips, adding a delightful contrast in texture.

To make this cake, you start by mixing the dry ingredients and setting them aside. The grated ube is then combined with milk, vanilla, egg yolks, corn syrup, and oil. The dry ingredients are gradually added to this mixture until a smooth batter is formed. Separately, egg whites and cream of tartar are beaten until stiff peaks form, and then folded into the batter. The batter is divided among cake pans and baked until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Once the cakes have cooled, they are filled with macapuno and frosted with a sweet buttercream frosting. The result is a visually striking and deliciously sweet dessert that’s sure to impress.

Dessert Key Ingredients Traditional Cooking Method Occasions/Significance
Carioca Glutinous rice flour, sweetened shredded coconut, coconut milk Shaping into balls, deep-frying, coating in coconut caramel sauce A delightful Filipino dessert with a chewy texture
Champorado Glutinous rice, cocoa powder (or tablea), sugar, water Cooking rice with cocoa mixture, sweetening, served hot A comforting chocolate rice porridge enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack
Pastillas de Leche Milk, heavy cream, sugar, powdered whole milk Cooking milk and cream, adding sugar and powdered milk, shaping into candies A sweet and creamy Filipino candy
Puto Bumbong Glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, ube flavoring, grated coconut, palm sugar granules Mixing rice flour, coconut milk, and flavoring, steaming, topping with grated coconut and palm sugar A traditional Christmas dessert with a unique purple color
Sorbetes Powdered milk, coconut milk, evaporated milk, sugar, cornstarch Mixing and boiling ingredients, freezing, mixing again, served as ice cream A popular Filipino ice cream often sold from street carts
Tibok-Tibok Carabao’s milk (or cow’s milk), granulated sugar, cornstarch Cooking milk and sugar, adding cornstarch, chilling and setting A creamy milk pudding topped with toasted coconut milk curds
Tikoy Glutinous rice flour, water, sugar Mixing ingredients, steaming, allowing to dry and harden A sweet and sticky rice cake often enjoyed during Chinese New Year
Turrón de Manila Saba bananas, lumpia wrappers, jackfruit, flour or cornstarch, white sugar, vanilla ice cream, whiskey, coffee powder Wrapping bananas and jackfruit in wrappers, deep-frying, serving with ice cream and coffee powder A unique version of Turon with ice cream and coffee flavor
Ube Macapuno Cake Purple yam (ube), flour, baking powder, salt, milk, vanilla, egg yolks, corn syrup, oil, macapuno (coconut sport) Mixing and baking ingredients for the cake, filling with macapuno, frosting with buttercream A special occasion cake with vibrant colors and flavors
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