These Tips Will Help You Make Perfect Yema

Avoid clumpy yema from now on.

IMAGE Charlie Altomonte

Yema is a fantastic and delicious sauce, dessert, coating, and spread. It's so versatile that it can be any or all of these! 

For anyone who has never heard of yema, it's a delicious thickened mixture of egg yolks, condensed milk, and butter. Three ingredients create a sticky, thickened mixture that some would love to lick straight off from the spatula. It's what you may recognize as the filling that oozes from your brazo de mercedes, the sticky sweet spread we love spooned into fresh, hot pandesal, the candy-coated balls from our childhood the flavor we used to get at special occasions, and the coating you can use to enrobe entire cakes in.  

Even the most experienced cook can make mistakes when making yema. Avoid clumpy yema with these useful tips. 

How do you make yema? 

There are important tips to note down and keep in mind when making yema that, when heeded, can guarantee a silky and luscious candy. Here are a few tips: 

This luscious yema-covered chiffon cake is your dream cake come true.
Photo by Bianca Laxamana
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1 Mix the ingredients together first-off the heat.

This is the most common mistake of new bakers and even cooks. They start off with the pan or pot on the stove, with the heat on. For yema, this can mean the difference between scrambled egg yolks in the yema and a silky and smooth mixture. 


To avoid this, it's best if you mix both ingredients-egg yolks and condensed milk-in the pot or pan. (Use a whisk for best results.) Only after it's all been mixed together should you turn on the heat or place it over a flame.  

This is because the condensed milk will act as a buffer for the yolks against the heat, preventing it from cooking too fast. 

2 Go low and slow. 

Once the mixture is on the flame, turn the heat to low. The egg yolks will be the first thing to cook and will turn into unappetizing clumps if you cook this over high heat, so low heat is best to prevent the yolks from turning into egg scrambled. Plus, the yolks are responsible for thickening the yema so cooking it over low heat will be a slow process. Slow, but the result will be silky and delicious.  



3 Stir, stir, and stir! 

While you're cooking the yema, don't forget to constantly stir! Just like the egg yolks are in danger of scrambling over high heat, even a low heat can cook it into an omelet if you're not stirring. Stirring guarantees that the yolks are always moving and won't seize up into big clumps as it thickens.  

4 Stop once thick. 

You will know when it's done when you see that the consistency has thickened. At this point, stop! The mixture should be hot enough to have pasteurized the egg yolks and cooked enough to be perfectly safe and edible. It will thicken some more as it cools so set it aside and let it cool.  

Once you have your perfectly thickened egg yolk and condensed milk mixture, you can add and stir in the butter while it's still hot. This is so that the butter can slowly melt and emulsify into the mixture without breaking it. 


If you find you want an even thicker yema mixture, add more yolks-off the heat of course!-and then continue to cook until you get a perfect consistency that you desire. 

Need more recipes to use with your newly cooked yema? Try these awesome recipes: 

Photo by Riell Santos

1 Yema Cake Recipe 

This classic cake recipe is not only topped with yema, but it's also got a nice grating of cheddar cheese. We love pairing sweet with salty and it's a glorious, delicious thing.  


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Photo by Charlie Altomonte

2 Peanut Yema Cupcakes Recipe

Yema is fantastic when peanuts are added to the mixture. It not only adds a nutty note to each bite, but it also adds a wonderful crunch. 

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Photo by Dairy Darilag

3 Salted Caramel Yema Candies Recipe 

Go classic and relive your childhood with this recipe! These are coated in a hard candy so it's a double dose of sweetness. That salt on top is the perfect complement to all that sweetness! 


Photo by Aldwin Aspillera

4 Brazo de Mercedez Recipe

You can't forget that the filling of a Brazo de Mercedez is a yema filling! That pillowy soft cake encases a very nice and thick yema filling. For this yema recipe, you might need more egg yolks to help it stay in the cake roll and prevent it from oozing right out. You can augment the yema filling with a little cornstarch or all-purpose flour added in so it can be firm enough, even when not chilled, to stay inside the cake. You can even make a frozen brazo recipe, too, or even an ube version!    



For even more recipes made even more irresistible with yema, try these: 




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