While the main dishes are hits, dessert is the real star of the show. Peidi, SideChef’s very own product manager, grew up in the Philippines and has the lowdown on some Filipino favorites!
Halo-halo literally means “mix mix”, which is exactly what you’re supposed to do before enjoying a spoonful of this refreshing dessert. Traditionally served in layers; the bottom layer is a mix of red bean, coconut meat, jackfruit and rice crispies, next is a layer of shaved ice, and then the whole thing is topped with evaporated milk, leche flan, ube (purple yam) ice cream, and caramelized plantains. A perfect mix of flavor and texture!
Leche Flan is a custard dessert made from condensed milk and egg yolks. It’s insanely easy to make, but what’s special about this custard is that the caramel is made and melted in dedicated pans called llanera to give the dessert a unique oval shape. Every family has their own recipe and claims their version is the best so experiment and make your own!
Brazo de Mercedes is a type of jelly roll dessert, but unlike other jelly rolls, it’s made with pillowy meringue instead of sponge cake. This meringue is filled with a dense egg custard filling that is a complete contrast to the texture of the meringue.
In the Philippines, they love a mix of sweet and salty. This incredibly soft and round sweet bread is topped with butter, sugar and a generous amount of shaved cheese. Cheese is a big part of the Filipino diet, they even have it as an ice cream flavor!
Bibingka is a rice cake traditionally eaten around Christmas time. The best part about Bibingka is that it’s wrapped in banana leaves and then cooked in clay pots over charcoal. The cake is topped with slices of salted egg and shaved coconut meat. Truly unique and a delight to the tastebuds!
Ube, or purple yam, is a common root in South East Asia. It has the fantastic ability to give whatever dish it is in a deep purple hue as well as a subtle but distinct flavor. In the Philippines, it’s used in all sorts of desserts and made into a dense jam that is unlike any other.
Made simply of eggs, sugar and condensed milk, Yema is cooked in a large wok until the sugar caramelizes. After the sugar caramelizes, the mixture is shaped into balls or little pyramids that have a crystallized crust on the outside with a soft and chewy inside.
Pichi-Pichi is a fun, gelatinous dessert made from grated cassava and sugar. The mixture is placed into round molds and steamed which results in a ball-shaped dessert. It is then topped with grated coconut or cheese. It’s so fun to eat that you’ll chow down on four of them without even realizing.
Turon, the perfect snack, is made from sliced plantains that are coated in brown sugar and then wrapped in a spring roll wrapper. If you think that sounds awesome, wait til you hear how it’s cooked. The spring rolls are deep fried which caramelizes the brown sugar and creates the perfect crunchy and sweet coating.
This dessert is a go-to for any potluck, family gathering, or picnic. Made with gelatin cubes and tender young coconut in pandan-infused cream, it is served cold and is always a crowd-pleaser. The best part is the nata de coco, a chewy, translucent, jelly-like byproduct made when coconut water is fermented.
Which of these desserts would you most like to try? Let us know in the comments!