A Filipino Christmas feast is never complete without delightful desserts. The traditional Filipino Christmas desserts are always looked forward to every year. Filipinos start preparing and indulging in these delectable treats during the holiday season as soon as possible.
From the classic to the sweet and creamy, Christmas desserts come in various flavors that capture Pinoy’s taste and tradition. In this article, we take a closer look at these mouthwatering Christmas desserts in the Philippines. Let’s prepare and enjoy the most interesting Filipino cuisines this holiday season!
Top 12 Popular Filipino Christmas Desserts Must-Try
In the Philippines, Christmas desserts are sweet treats and symbols of togetherness and celebration. Here are 13 popular desserts that create lasting memories of Christmas traditions.
Bibingka is a traditional Filipino Christmas dessert with coconut milk and rice flour. This cake is usually baked in clay pots lined with banana leaves. It is sweet and slightly salty. It is fluffy and often topped with salted egg slices, cheese, and grated coconut.
With a history dating back to pre-colonial times, Bibingka is a symbol of Filipino culture and traditions during the Christmas season. It is commonly enjoyed after Simbang Gabi, a series of nine early morning masses leading up to Christmas Eve.
Puto Bumbong is one of the vibrant Filipino Christmas desserts. This unique purple-colored rice cake is cooked and served during the Philippines’ Christmas season. It is made from glutinous rice flour, and this delicacy is steamed in bamboo tubes and added with toppings.
The cake’s vibrant purple color comes from the rice flour mixture with ground purple yam or ube. Puto Bumbong is special in Filipino hearts as it is closely associated with Simbang Gabi. It is sold outside churches as a comforting post-mass snack.
Maja Blanca is a creamy coconut pudding among easy Filipino Christmas desserts. Made from coconut milk, cornstarch, and corn kernels, it has a velvety texture and a delicate sweet taste. It is often topped with grated coconut and sometimes garnished with latik (caramelized coconut cream).
Maja Blanca is a favorite holiday treat best enjoyed chilled. Its name means “white delicacy,” which perfectly describes its appearance. Therefore, it is seen as an inviting and comforting dessert during Christmas festivities.
Queso De Bola, also known as Edam cheese, is a popular Christmas cheese in the Philippines. It is traditionally shaped like a ball and coated in red wax. Imported from the Netherlands, this cheese has become an integral part of Filipino Christmas celebrations.
It is often served alongside other festive snacks and sweets on a cheese platter. Queso De Bola is cherished not only for its distinctive taste but also for its sense of luxury. It is one of the simple Filipino Christmas desserts attached to the holiday season.
Leche Flan is a rich, creamy caramel custard and popular Filipino dessert. This silky smooth dessert is a staple during special occasions and Christmas celebrations. The Spanish influence is where its roots may be found during the colonial era.
Traditionally served chilled, leche flan is enjoyed by spooning the luscious caramel sauce over each bite. Its indulgent taste and elegant presentation make it an easy Christmas Filipino dessert loved by many.
Buko Salad is a refreshing and vibrant fruit salad commonly served during Christmas in the Philippines. It is made with young coconut, fruit cocktails, nata de coco (coconut jelly), and condensed milk. It is sometimes added with tapioca pearls for texture.
This delightful dessert represents the tropical flavors and abundance of fruits in the country. Often served chilled, it is a light and cool treat amidst the festive holiday feasts. Its colorful presentation and medley of flavors make it a favorite among both young and old.
Cassava Cake is a popular Filipino moist and chewy dessert during Christmas and other special occasions. It is made from grated cassava, eggs, coconut milk, and sugar and has a sticky yet soft texture. This traditional sweet treat has its roots in Filipino indigenous cuisine and has become a staple on Filipino dessert tables.
The cake is usually baked until golden brown and topped with a creamy custard layer. It is best enjoyed warm, and it’s flavors and unique texture make it an irresistible Filipino favorite. It is one of the traditional Filipino Christmas desserts ideal to serve on holiday.
Chocolate Crinkles are irresistible, soft, and fudgy cookies commonly seen during Filipino Christmas celebrations. This treat has a mild bitter taste because it is made with cocoa powder. It is rolled in sugar before baking, creating a cracked appearance.
Chocolate crinkles have become a well-loved holiday cookie in the Philippines, enjoyed by all ages. These sweet and chocolate delights are often served alongside other Christmas goodies. Additionally, it makes for a perfect holiday gift or snack.
Cathedral Jelly, also known as Cathedral Windows, is a beautifully layered and vibrant gelatin dessert. It is traditionally made with colored gelatin cubes suspended in clear gelatin. This simple Filipino Christmas dessert resembles colorful stained glass windows, hence its name.
Each layer is set individually, creating a stunning visual effect when sliced. Cathedral Jelly represents the festive and joyful spirit of Filipino Christmas celebrations. Its various colors and flavors add a delightful touch to the holiday dessert table.
Pichi Pichi is a sticky and chewy Filipino dessert made from grated cassava, sugar, and water. Steamed until firm, these translucent and jelly-like cakes are then rolled in grated coconut.
Pichi Pichi has become a popular treat during Christmas celebrations as it is easy to make and transport. It is often served on banana leaves and enjoyed as a sweet snack or dessert. The unique texture and subtle coconut flavor of Pichi Pichi make it a beloved Filipino delicacy.
Halo-halo is also one of the beloved easy Filipino desserts enjoyed year-round. However, it is served especially during the hot summer and Christmas seasons. “Halo-halo” translates to “mix-mix” in English, perfectly describing this dessert.
It is made by layering crushed ice, various sweet ingredients, and leche flan in a glass or bowl. Then, it is topped with milk and sometimes ice cream. This icy dessert provides a refreshing and colorful combination of flavors, textures, and temperatures. Therefore, it has become an iconic Filipino treat.
Ube Halaya, also known as purple yam jam, is a vibrant and sweet traditional Filipino dessert. It is made from purple yam, coconut milk, condensed milk, and butter. The purple yam gives it its distinct color and unique flavor, mildly sweet and earthy.
Ube Halaya is made by grating purple yam and cooking it with the other ingredients until it thickens. It can be used as a filling for different pastries eaten on its own or as a topping. Ube Halaya is treasured for its delicious taste, cultural significance, and Filipino culinary heritage.
The History of Filipino Christmas Desserts
A mixture of cultural influences and traditions shapes the history of Christmas desserts in the Philippines. The country has a rich history of colonization, notably by Spain, for over three centuries. The Spanish introduced sugar, dairy products, and various baking techniques. Then, they have been integrated into Filipino dessert recipes.
Filipino Christmas desserts also showcase the country’s unique cultural traditions. Desserts take center stage during these celebrations, symbolizing abundance, joy, and a sense of togetherness. Many desserts are specifically associated with Christmas, often enjoyed after attending Simbang Gabi or during Noche Buena.
Over the years, these recipes have been passed down through generations and continue to evolve and adapt. Filipino Christmas desserts have also seen contemporary adaptations and modern twists. They have been reinvented with new ingredients or presentation styles to cater to changing tastes. Additionally, the influence of other global cuisines and the availability of new ingredients have contributed to the diversification of Filipino desserts.
Today, Filipino Christmas desserts hold a special place in Filipino culture. The celebration of Christmas in the Philippines is incomplete without the presence of these delectable desserts. These desserts bring people together and create unforgettable memories during the festive season.
Filipino Christmas desserts embody a rich culinary tradition that combines indigenous flavors, Spanish influence, and modern innovation. All sweet treats hold a special place in Filipino culture, symbolizing togetherness during the holiday season. The diverse range of desserts offers a unique and delicious experience of the flavors of the Philippines.
So, this Christmas season, embrace the spirit of Filipino tradition and indulge in these delightful desserts. They are sure to create lasting memories for you and your loved ones. Don’t miss the chance to savor these delectable delights, bringing joy to your Christmas celebrations.