Of all Philippine dessert items, none are quite as ubiquitous or as loaded with childhood nostalgia as the yema ball. Found everywhere from supermarkets to the nearby sari-sari store, yema balls are a rich treat best savored with coffee or tea as a counterpoint to the sweetened egg yolks used to make this indulgent item. Mixed with sweetened condensed milk and plenty of sugar, this delicious recipe is effortless to boil and roll up when it cools a little bit in the festive cellophane wrappers. The sheer ease of making yema balls means that they’re ideal for the holiday season, either as a lovely plateful to leave out for visitors, or artfully packaged as giveaways to friends and relatives. Don’t forget to ensure that the yema is properly cooled before you give it its final roll in sugar, to prevent the crystals from melting rapidly!
Quick and Easy Yema Recipe
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- ½ kilo white sugar
- In a frying pan or pot, mix the egg yolks, condensed milk, and vanilla until well blended.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat to prevent the mixture from burning.
- Using a metal spatula, stir the milk as if you are scraping the bottom of the pan. Stir constantly.
- This must be done continuously to avoid burning the milk and to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- The mixture is ready when it forms a ball. Let it cool.
- When cool, form the mixture into balls about 2 to 3 cm in diameter.
- Place the yema balls on a wide plate with white sugar then roll; once coated, pick up each ball with a toothpick. Set aside to cool.
- When cool, wrap the balls in cellophane and twist both ends to secure.