13 Filipino Desserts Always Present During Noche Buena
Christmas doesn’t start on December 25. It begins on the eve of the most festive day of the year, when everyone gathers for a feast called Noche Buena and indulges on the most delectable Filipino desserts.
Though the Noche Buena traditionally starts at midnight, most families start the feast after attending Misa de Gallo. It doesn’t matter what time you start eating because what matters is you spend it with family and friends and with good food, of course.
Aside from the ever-present queso de bola, ham, and lechon, no Christmas Eve dinner is complete without the sweets. Here’s a list of Filipino desserts you’ll usually find in every Noche Buena gathering.
Throw in fruit cocktail, nata de coco, cheese, kaong, peach, and pineapple in a bowl. Mix it with condensed milk and cream, and add a dash of magic—that’s pretty much how every household makes this dessert, aka the star of the night.
2Crema de Fruta
There’s nothing more magical than opening your fridge on December 24 and seeing a Tupperware of Crema de Fruta, complete with round pineapple cuts, peaches, cherries, and other fruits.
This is a simpler version of Crema de Fruta, but it doesn’t mean it’s inferior. In fact, some people prefer mango float over Crema de Fruta due to its simple preparation and the freshness of the mangoes.
Known for its many names (caramel custard, caramel pudding, crème caramel, best dessert ever, etc., etc.), leche flan is a favorite Noche Buena sweet. Watch as kids fight each other for a spoonful of this sinfully yummy dessert. Then again, you can just win over everyone by finishing off a llanera all by yourself.
Grated young coconut, pandan, gelatin, and milk (lots of it) that’s what buko pandan is. You can also add tapioca to make it even better. Some also prefer adding ripe mango cubes to put a twist to it.
Be it a Cathedral Window from Goldilocks or a homemade one, this is a fun Filipino dessert to have in a Noche Buena dinner.
This ice-cold salad is pretty much like fruit salad but prepared with shredded young coconut and less table cream. Despite little difference in ingredient, there’s still a debate on which one’s better. But why fight over it when you can just eat both?
This gelatinous grated cassava dessert is so addicting that you’ll probably finish off ten pieces without realizing it. It is often covered in grated coconut or grated cheese.
Sprinkled with grated coconut meat or layered on top with yema, the steamed rice cake is a constant present in Christmas Eve feasts. Either homemade or store bought, this kakanin is always a sure hit.
10Ube Ice Cream
No Filipino celebration will be complete without ice cream, especially at Noche Buena! To make it distinctly Filipino, we always go for the ube ice cream, which the elderly folks seem to love. But as you grow older, you end up realizing why this flavor is a classic.
This coconut pudding with corn kernels is so light that you’ll be indulging in so many calories without feeling it. But if it tastes this heavenly, who cares, right? Top it with latik and you’ll have the perfect ending to a satisfying meal.
Chances are you’ll be devouring your order of puto bumbong on your way home from church. On the off-chance that it manages to reach home for the feast, it’s best eaten with a steaming mug of coffee or hot chocolate.
Noche Buena cannot be complete without a roll cake. Whether it is one from a local bakery or a national chain, this completes the list of Filipino desserts perfect for the Christmas Eve feast. Brazo de Mercedes, ube, chocolate, and mocha are just some of the favorite roll cake flavors.
Noche Buena is made for people who subsist on sweets, and it’s a night that you wish will never end. With all the Filipino desserts you have to finish, who has time for sleep?