Filipinos are known for their creativity and this translates even to our food. Although our style of cooking has been influenced by other foreign nations, the Filipinos’ ingenuity makes use of local ingredients to adapt to the Filipino palate. And even if countless variations have been applied due to modernizing of the times, Filipino desserts will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Here we are sharing to your some of the well-loved desserts that every Filipino will surely enjoy.
We Filipinos love our rice, we have even made them into a dessert. Biko is made from glutinous rice, brown sugar, and coconut milk and topped with latik. Latik is created by reducing coconut milk until the oil and the curds separate.
Cooking biko is fairly simple but it does require a bit of effort. The sticky rice needs constant stirring to prevent it from uneven cooking and burning.
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Made with shredded young coconut milk and flavored pandan jelly, this Filipino classic is always present during gatherings and celebrations. Others add sago pearls, tapioca or cubed cheddar cheese. Made rich with cream and condensed milk and served cold, this dessert is sure to be a crowd favorite.
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Ginatan or ginataang halo-halo, also known as Binignit in some parts of the Philippines. Its name is derived from the word “gata” which is coconut milk. A myriad of ingredients is mixed together – sweet potatoes, taro roots, purple yam, sweet plantains, jackfruit, glutinous rice balls, tapioca pearls, coconut milk, sugar, and water. Adding a pinch of salt when cooking cuts back on the sweetness. This can also be served as a mid-afternoon snack.
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Halo-Halo literally means “mixed” in Filipino. A popular snack especially during summer months, you can see this served at homes, in restaurants and even along your streets by your neighbor’s kids. Ingredients to create halo-halo varies but the most common are sweetened beans, toasted rice (pinipig), sweetened plantains, jellies, sugar palm fruit (kaong), nata de coco, and jackfruit. All these are put into a tall glass, followed by shaved ice, then evaporated milk is poured over the mixture. This is then topped with either leche flan, halayang ube or ice cream.
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The Philippines is a tropical country and we have an abundance of coconut trees. Because of this, coconut milk is an often used ingredient in cooking Filipino dishes. An example of this is the Maja Blanca.
Maja Blanca has a light and delicate flavor. Traditionally, only coconut milk, sugar and cornstarch is used to make this coconut pudding and then browned coconut cream curds called latik is sprinkled on top.
Since Maja Blanca can be easily adjusted to include other ingredients we now have maja blanca with corn kernels and milk, others use squash, ube yam, and pandan leaves.
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Pichi Pichi uses grated cassava, water, and brown sugar. It is easy to make, fairly cheap to buy and can be found in most wet markets around the country. It often comes in 2 variants – one that is coated in grated coconut and another coated in shredded cheese. Light and chewy, I guarantee that one piece is not enough to satisfy your tastebuds.
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Don’t we just love desserts which have repeating names and sapin sapin is no exception. A veritable rainbow of kakanin, the name sapin sapin literally means “layered”. Each layer calls for a different flavor. Purple is for ube halaya, Yellow and orange is for the jackfruit, and the white one is for the creamy coconut. Latik is generously sprinkled on top.
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Before other big brand ice cream became a common commodity, vibrant sorbetes carts peddled sorbetes ice cream. What makes sorbetes distinct is that it is made from coconut milk. Offered in the traditional flavors of ube (purple yam), keso (cheese) and mangga (mangoes), it is served in a small sugar cone, bread bun or a plastic cup.
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A popular mid-afternoon snack that most Filipino kids grew up with. Thinly sliced plantains combined with some jackfruit and brown sugar are rolled in a spring roll wrapper and fried to a crisp. Usually cooked and sold along the streets, vendors often sell them along with banana cue, kamote cue, and maruya.
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If you have been noticing an ubiquitous purple colored jam that is popping up in most Filipino snack or dessert that you are eating, this is the ever-popular Ube Halaya. Purple yam is boiled then grated. The grated yam is then mixed with coconut milk and melted margarine or butter. This is then cooked with continuous stirring until the mixture thickens. Once cooled, it is then placed in a variety of containers for storing. Traditionally served with macapuno, ube halaya is used in a variety of Filipino snacks and desserts.
Top photo courtesy of www.theculturetrip.com