Get Your Sugar Fix With These 14 Classic Filipino Desserts

But be careful not to overindulge!
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It’s probably safe to say that Filipino palate is shaped by all things sweet. From snacks to full on side dishes, sweeteners like sugar, cream, and mil are ever-present. It’s very much seen how sweetness creeps up on so many of our cuisine. For one, we managed to turn spaghetti into something sweet and we’ve got so many sweet and sour dishes.

Desserts can be served to Filipinos at degrees varying from cold to frozen to warm to even hot, depending on the individual’s preference. As long as it satiate the sweet tooth in each of us, it’s the perfect dessert! Here are some of the most loved Filipino sweets, from beverages to cakes, that we’ve compiled for your reading pleasure.

HALO-HALO

Halo-Halo Recipe - Foxy Folksy
Photo by Foxy Folksy

The quintessential and timeless dessert of the Philippines. A variety of sweet fruits, beans, and preserved jellies are layered at the bottom of the serving dish, followed by a layer of finely crushed ice, and then evaporated milk is drizzled on top of everything. It’s not uncommon to have it served with ice cream on top of everything. 

Besides the fact that the word “halo-halo” is directly translate as “mix-mix,” which describes the assortment of delicious ingredients included the dessert, but it also alludes to the appropriate fashion in which the dessert should be enjoyed. In order to get the most out of one’s halo-halo experience, it is recommended to use a spoon and completely blend all of the ingredients together.

Why not try making one yourself? Check out a recipe here: https://www.foxyfolksy.com/halo-halo-recipe

BUKO PANDAN

Buko Pandan Salad Recipe
Photo from Eat Filipino Food

Gelatin cubes scented with pandan leaves are blended with young coconut strips and cream and served either chilled or frozen in this popular Filipino fruit salad variant. The fusion of the aromatic pandan leaves and the gentle flavor of coconut forms an alluring combination. As a result, this dessert is a staple on the menus of the majority of celebrations and feasts because of its enticing flavor profile.

Another version of the dessert, which is referred to as “buko salad,” can be made by using other components, such as nata de coco (coconut jelly) and sago (tapioca pearls). There are also drinkable forms of buko pandan and buko salad, in which fresh milk is added. These are equally appetizing options to consider if you want don’t feel like munching down on the solid ingredients.

Get a recipe here: https://www.kawalingpinoy.com/buko-pandan-salad/ 

SAGO’T GULAMAN

Special Sago't Gulaman Recipe | Foxy Folksy
Photo from Foxy Folksy

This beverage, which is considered to be a Filipino staple, is guaranteed to bring back warm memories for a lot of people in the Philippines. It is a delightful and refreshing drink that is made by combining tapioca pearls, water, brown sugar, gulaman, and a generous amount of ice. Often referred to as “palamig,” which can be translated as “refreshment,” this is a sure way to beat the heat without shelling out a lot of money. This drink can be purchased just about everywhere, however it is most often seen accompanying street foods. 

Try a recipe: https://www.foxyfolksy.com/sagot-gulaman/

TAHO

Taho - Ang Sarap
Photo from Ang Sarap

A sure way to get Filipinos scrambling around is a taho vendor strolling about in the street yelling their signature chant, “Taho!” Every Filipino definitely have fond memories of scurrying to get a hold of mugs to be filled with this classic sweet treat. One of the most popular sweet snack in the Philippines, this simple confection of silken tofu, tapioca pearls, and brown sugar syrup is an all-time favorite. Although they may be eaten when they are cold, the warm version has proven to be the crowd favorite. Keep an eye out for ube (purple yam) and strawberry variations, which are commonly available in Baguio.

Give making it a go: https://www.angsarap.net/2011/12/16/taho/

MAIS CON YELO

How to Make Mais Con Yelo: Mais Con Yelo Recipe
Photo from Yummy PH

A close relative of the halo-halo, mais con yelo is made from combining shaved ice, corn kernels, sugar and milk. Shaved ice is placed in a glass, and then evaporated milk is poured on top of the ice for the preparation of the dessert. After that, it receives a finishing touch of sugar and cream corn on top. Optionally, vanilla ice cream can be used to elevate the sweetness. Before eating, it is also swirled to combine the flavors, much like halo-halo.

Make one at home: https://www.yummy.ph/recipe/buko-mais-con-yelo

BIKO

Biko Recipe (Filipino Sticky Rice Cake) - Foxy Folksy
Photo from Foxy Folksy

Biko, a sweet dessert popular among Filipinos all around the globe, is gooey, chewy, and oh very delicious. Sticky rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar are the three main ingredients in this sticky treat. You’ll usually see it garnished with toasted coconut bits on top. Biko is a kind of dessert that falls under the genre of kakanin, which is composed completely of rice cakes. It is commonly presented in a bilao, which is a circular, shallow plate made of bamboo and covered with banana leaves.

Try out a recipe: https://www.foxyfolksy.com/biko-recipe-filipino-rice-cake/

CASSAVA CAKE

Cassava Cake - Ang Sarap
Photo from Ang Sarap

At the very least, in the 16th century, the Manila galleons brought in cassava as one of the products from Latin America. Adapting to Filipino palates, the cassava cake is a classic moist cake that originated in the Philippines. It is made with shredded cassava (known as kamoteng kahoy in the country), coconut milk, and condensed milk, and it has a layer of custard on top. One of those types of sweets that strikes the ideal mix between savory and sweet tastes is cassava cake.

Try making it yourself: https://www.angsarap.net/2012/03/23/cassava-cake-moms-version/

MAJA BLANCA

Maja Blanca - Kawaling Pinoy
Photo from Kawaling Pinoy

Maja blanca is a classic Filipino dessert that is made mostly from coconut milk and has a consistency comparable to that of gelatin. Maja blanca is considered to be one of the country’s most delicious sweet dishes. Maja blanca is not only a delectable snack and dessert, but it is also customarily served at festivities and all during the holiday season, with Christmas being the most prominent example.

Learn a recipe here: https://www.kawalingpinoy.com/maja-blanca/

LENGUA DE GATO

Photo by Dajaiber on Wikipedia

Lenguas de gato are cookies made in the Philippines that are long and oval in shape and very thin. Butter, flours, sugar, eggs, and milk are the primary ingredients in their creation. The name of these cookies comes from the Spanish phrase “lingua de gato,” which translates to “tongue of the cat,” since their form is similar to that of a cat’s tongue. They are sugary, creamy, and delicately thin, which allows them to dissolve effortlessly in the tongue.

Get a recipe here: https://panlasangpinoy.com/lengua-de-gato/ 

EGG PIE

Egg Pie - Ang Sarap
Photo from Ang Sarap

Egg pie is a kind of sweet pie that is popular in the Philippines. It’s definitely up there with the childhood favorites of many Filipinos. It has a filling made of egg custard and an unique toasted brown topping created from egg whites. When you glance at the warm pie and see its toasty top, you can’t help but be curious about what’s hiding below. It has a silky texture, a milky flavor, and the filling dissolves easily in your tongue. When it is correctly cooked, the crust’s crisp texture complements the custard’s velvety smoothness in just the right way. Commonly, you’ll find it being sold in a lot of local bakeries.

Try making one with this recipe: https://www.angsarap.net/2012/09/28/egg-pie/

LECHE FLAN


Photo from: Panlasang Pinoy Recipes

Leche Flan is probably one of the most popular among a plethora of classic Filipino desserts. And though it has a lot of resemblance with the Spanish flan, a slight tweak in its ingredients makes the Filipino version a bit more tasty than its Spanish counterpart. Filipinos also found a way to make it “more Pinoy” by mixing it with other traditional Filipino desserts such as Halo-halo and Mais Con Yelo. 

Now, as I have said, the Filipino version of the Spanish flan is tastier. Why? It is because leche flan only contains egg yolks instead of a whole egg; along with egg yolks are sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and sugar. Basic ingredients, right? Well, don’t let that fool you because the result of mixing these said ingredients is a sweet, soft, and smooth custard partnered with an extreme heavenly taste that will keep you wanting for more once you get the chance to try it for the first time! And while its simple ingredients allow it to be easily made anytime, leche flan is traditionally served during special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. 

Want to satisfy your dessert cravings after your meal? Learn a recipe here: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/262423/leche-flan/

CARIOCA


Photo from: Kawaling Pinoy Recipes

Despite being widely known as an afternoon snack or merienda, this next one on our list is, without a doubt, very much capable of satiating every Filipino’s sweet tooth as a dessert. 

Carioca is a classic Filipino snack that is usually sold in the streets. It is made of glutinous rice flour, which is poured with either water, coconut juice, or coconut milk. The dough created by the flour and the water or coconut milk mixture is rolled into tiny sticky balls, and then deep fried to perfection. Once done, the fried Carioca balls will be then glazed with caramelized brown sugar and are normally skewered in thin, wooden sticks; though it could also be eaten piece by piece directly from a bowl or plate. This top-tier merienda may also be a top-tier dessert for some due to the felicitous combination of chewiness, crunchiness, and sweetness that just explodes in your mouth as you take a bite!

Curious about its taste? Make one at home and discover the magic: https://asianfoodnetwork.com/en/recipes/cuisine/filipino/carioca.html

MINATAMIS NA SAGING

Photo from: Casa Baluarte Filipino Recipes

I don’t know about you, but surely, there is nothing quite like the blissful feeling of minatamis na saging dominating your taste buds after an extremely meaty meal like that of pork steak or adobo. The savory sweet flavor of this dessert is the result of the “perfectly balanced teamwork”  of the confected nature of melted brown sugar as well as the soft and silky texture of sliced firm yet ripe plantain bananas, or in Tagalog, saba

And while this dessert is already as palatable as it is, you will not, at all, regret adding a few more ingredients to it. What do I mean by that? Well, if you fancy your minatamis na saging to have that extra boost in flavor and richness, then you will be delighted once you top it with milk and sprinkle or add either shaved ice or ice cubes. With just a few additions, your minatamis na saging will instantly transform into another top-tier Filipino dessert: Saging Con Yelo, which is the perfect dessert for cooling down and fighting off the summer heat!

Interested in satisfying your sweet tooth with this dessert? Try out this recipe: http://authenticfilipinorecipes.com/recipe/pinoy-minatamis-na-saging-sweetened-banana

To suggest that there is no scarcity of anything sweet in the country would be an understatement. There is a dessert in Filipino cuisine that suitable for any event, whether it be a finale of a delicious dinner or a simple attempt to sate an insatiable want for something sweet. I’m fairly certain each of these even have multiple variations. It only goes to show that Filipinos are always looking for ways to improve upon something by adding new elements to it. 

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