The air is filled with excitement, and the streets are adorned with colorful lights. It can only mean one thing – Christmas is just around the corner! In the Philippines, Christmas is not just a day; it’s a season filled with warmth, laughter, and, of course, delightful treats.
In this blog, we’ll dive into the sweet world of Filipino desserts that will surely add a festive touch to your holiday celebrations.
- Puto Bumbong
- Leche Flan
- Fruit Salad
- Cassava Cake
- Pichi Pichi
- Maja Blanca
- Bibingkang Malagkit
- Ube Halaya
- Buko Pandan
Bibingka is a Christmas staple, and you’ll find it in almost every corner during the holiday season. This rice cake is traditionally cooked over hot coals, giving it a distinct flavor and texture. Made from rice flour and coconut milk, bibingka is topped with salted duck eggs, kesong puti (white cheese), and a sprinkle of sugar. The result? It’s a heavenly combination of sweet and savory that will leave you craving for more!
2. Puto Bumbong
Picture this: thin purple cylinders, steam rising, and a sprinkle of grated coconut on top – that’s Puto Bumbong. This dessert is often enjoyed after Simbang Gabi, a series of nine dawn masses leading up to Christmas. The purple hue comes from the use of purple yam, giving it a unique and festive appearance. Puto Bumbong is typically served with butter or margarine and muscovado sugar, making it a delightful treat for the senses.
3. Leche Flan
If there’s one dessert that signifies celebration in the Philippines, it’s Leche Flan. This creamy caramel custard is made with egg yolks, condensed milk, and sugar. The magic happens when it’s steamed to perfection, creating a smooth and velvety texture. The golden caramel syrup on top adds a delightful contrast to the richness of the flan. It’s a must-have on the Christmas table and a crowd-pleaser for all ages.
While not exactly a dessert on its own, Tsokolate or Filipino hot chocolate deserves an honorary mention in this list. Christmas mornings in the Philippines are often accompanied by this rich and thick beverage made from tablea (local cocoa tablets). Paired with bibingka or puto, it’s a match made in holiday heaven!
5. Fruit Salad
While Fruit Salad may seem like a common dessert, Filipinos have their own version that is a staple during the Christmas season. This holiday special is a medley of fruit cocktail, condensed milk, cream, and cheese. Some variations even include young coconut strips, kaong (sugar palm fruit), and nata de coco (coconut gel). The combination of sweet and creamy with a hint of savory from the cheese makes it a refreshing and indulgent dessert.
6. Cassava Cake
Though cassava cake doesn’t fall strictly within the category of rice-based kakanin, its classic flavors deems it a valuable inclusion in the festive dessert list for the holidays. Crafted from grated cassava, coconut milk, eggs, and sugar, this confection results in a dense yet moist cake. Crowned with a luscious custard layer, cassava cake introduces a distinctive and tropical element to the Christmas table.
7. Pichi Pichi
Pichi Pichi is a delightful kakanin made of grated cassava, sugar, and water. What makes this treat stand out is its translucent appearance and chewy texture. Often steamed to perfection and topped with grated cheese or coconut, Pichi Pichi is a sweet revelation that adds a unique flair to the Christmas dessert spread. Its simplicity and delightful taste make it a hit during holiday gatherings.
8. Maja Blanca
Maja Blanca, a velvety coconut corn pudding, is another Christmas dessert gem in Filipino cuisine. Made of coconut milk, cornstarch, sugar, and corn kernels, Maja Blanca has a smooth and creamy texture with a hint of sweetness. Topped with toasted grated coconut, it’s a comforting dessert that combines the rich flavors of coconut and corn. Maja Blanca’s simplicity and luscious taste make it a favorite during the holiday season.
9. Bibingkang Malagkit
Bibingkang Malagkit, a sticky rice cake, is a Christmas favorite in Filipino households. Made of glutinous rice, coconut milk, and sugar, this kakanin is often topped with a layer of sweetened coconut curd or budbod. The result is a dense, sweet, and chewy rice cake that’s perfect for sharing with family and friends during the holiday season.
10. Ube Halaya
Ube Halaya, a Filipino purple yam jam, is a sweet concoction that graces many Christmas tables. Made of purple yam, coconut milk, and condensed milk or sugar, ube halaya boasts a vibrant purple hue and a creamy, decadent texture. Often used as a filling for other desserts or enjoyed on its own, this treat adds an elegant touch to the holiday festivities, infusing the season with the unique flavor of purple yam.
11. Sapin Sapin
Sapin-Sapin was derived from the Tagalog word “sapin,” meaning “blanket,” and it refers to the layers of rice cake. It is a visually stunning kakanin that adds a burst of color to Filipino celebration, most especially during the Christmas season. This multi-layered rice cake is made by stacking different-colored layers of rice flour and coconut milk. Each layer boasts a unique flavor, with ube (purple yam) and langka (jackfruit) commonly used for their vibrant hues. The result is not only a treat for the taste buds, but also a feast for the eyes.
12. Buko Pandan
Buko Pandan is a refreshing dessert that perfectly captures the tropical flavors of the Philippines. It is created using coconut strips (buko) and pandan-flavored gelatin, this dessert is often mixed with cream and condensed milk for added richness. The combination of the mild sweetness from coconut and the aromatic pandan creates a delightful harmony of flavors. Buko Pandan is a cooling and satisfying treat, making it a fantastic addition to your Christmas dessert lineup.
This Christmas, elevate your festive celebrations with these delightful Filipino desserts. So gather around, indulge in these delectable treats, and let the flavors of the Philippines brighten your Christmas festivities!