Yema Balls (Caramel Coated Custard Candy Balls)

I used to buy these yummy milk candies wrapped in colored plastic wrapper back in my childhood days. There are actually 2 kinds of yema that I know of; the one with peanuts, the more common, it’s made of cooked condensed milk and one made with milk and egg yolks and coated with caramel.

These caramel coated yema balls are harder to find these days,  in fact I haven’t eaten or have even seen one in a long long long time that’s why I decided to make it; no, actually I have yolks in the fridge, I was looking for something new I could do with it aside from leche flan, I  saw this recipe for yema from a Filipino cook book and I started craving for it as I picture in my mind the crunchy caramel and soft, creamy custard candy inside.. then,  I decided I will make it.

The recipe is pretty straight forward and simple, too simple in fact that it doesn’t include any explanations of the cooking process, no tips or hints for beginners;  it can be pretty frustrating sometimes but useful as an excuse for a failed dish LOL.   I think cookbooks like this assume that the reader knows how to cook already.

Well if you want to try this, I saved you the trouble of making the same mistake that I did (hopefully yours will come out perfect the first time). It’s really simple, it’s the caramel part that’s tricky. If you want, just stop at cooking the custard, the yema is good eaten as is or you could roll it in granulated sugar and you have yourself a pastillas, a sugar-coated milk candy.

But if you’re after the crunch and crackle of caramel, then go ahead finish it to the end, just take this tip from me:   CHILL or make sure you completely cool the yema balls before you dip it in the hot caramel. I will not make you go through reading my boring recount (I deleted it, even I find myself yawning while editing this post) of a failed attempt, just take my tip :)

mix all the ingredients in a non-stick pan

oops! I forgot the mashed potato, silly me..

cook over medium heat while stirring

it’s done when it starts to pull away from the sides of pan…I over-cooked mine a little, see the browned part? ..and see the reason why you should use non-stick pan?

caramel…if you have a candy thermometer, wait for the boiling sugar mixture to register 340 F degrees before dip the yema balls in it


Caramel-coated custard candy balls

The ingredients:
1 big can (14 oz) condensed milk
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup mashed potato
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter or margarine


1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a non-stick pan, combine the all the ingredients for the yema. Cook (stir it while cooking) until thick and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool and shape into balls.

note: I cannot stress this enough, you have to make sure the yema balls are completely cool or better yet, chill them in the fridge of frezer for a few minutes. They can hold up well to the heavy and hot caramel when cold. You see I only have a few balls for the picture? I ruined most of them but we still ate it.

Prepare the caramel: Combine the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a pan; boil until it becomes amber in color, it takes about 7 minutes or if you have a candy thermometer wait for it to register 340 F degrees. Put a toothpick on a yema ball and dip in the caramel. Transfer to a lightly greased tray or platter. Wrap individual balls in plastic.

yummy yema..

It was said that during the Spanish-occupied Philippines, a lot of egg whites were extensively used in building churches and this lead to the creation of sweet treats like yema and leche flan which puts the egg yolks into use as well rather than let it go to waste.

Happy Cooking!


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