Holy delightful yemas

A world apart

Recipes travel, just as explorers, traders and armies do, to say nothing of plants and foodstuffs, so it is often difficult to ascertain exactly where a recipe originated. The truth is that with certain everyday ingredients such as eggs and milk being available pretty much everywhere, even chance might play a part in a similar recipe evolving or being discovered at opposite sides of the world, sometimes almost simultaneously.

The mouth-watering little delights known as Yemas have for a long time been proudly recognised as a local speciality in both Spain and the Philippines.


The yemas of Santa Teresa

This version holds that the monks in a monastery in Avila used egg whites to purify their wines, but since they had no use for the egg yolks, they were given to nuns at the convents to use in sweet preparations. Yemas were one such preparation.

An alternative to this story is that the nuns at the Convent of Saint Teresa of Avila used to take in people’s laundry and egg whites were used to starch the linen. The unused egg yolks were mixed with a syrup of lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and water, formed into little balls and sold as yemas.

Yet a third version is that yemas began to be made in Avila by a pastelería or pastry shop belonging to a certain Don Isabelo Sánchez some 150 years ago. Seeing a good opportunity for these popular little sweets, Don Sanchez registered the name of Yemas de Santa Teresa for his own shop. Other pastry shops wishing to make yemas from then on were obliged to use a slightly different name and they were sold as Yemas de Avila.

Convent of Santa Teresa on the Plaza la Santa in Avila, Spain
Street view with little stores on the main island of the Philippines
Typical Philippine yema sweets

On the other side of the world…

In the Philippines, on the other side of the world from Spain, it’s not only in bakeries and pastry shops that you will find yemas. Just pop into any of the colourful neighbourhood stores known as sari-sari or glance at the roadside stalls and you will be sure to find yemas.

“Yema” is a Spanish word that means “yolk.” During the Spanish colonial period, egg whites and egg shells were used as mortar to build churches in the Philippines. This left an overabundance of egg yolks. Since Filipinos are accustomed to not letting food fall into waste, recipes that are mainly based on yolks, such as yema were created.

In the Philippines, yemas are usually made into little yellow pyramids and squares, and wrapped in colourful cellophane rather than the little round balls presented in paper cups as in Spain.

So, were yemas introduced here by the Spanish, or were they invented by thrifty locals? Once again, the origin has never been proven with historical accuracy.


Yema Mignet Sweets

Short crust

Tegral Patacrout* (short crust mix) 1000g
Mimetic 32* (lamination fat) 400g
Whole eggs 100g

Mix all ingredients to a homogenous dough. Laminate to 3 mm. Cut little rings the size of a Yema mould. Bake at 180°C for 10 min, damper open.

Baked Deli Yema

Deli Yema* Q.S.

Pipe the Deli Yema* into the silicon moulds. Bake for approx. 12 min at 180°C.

Composition & Decoration

Bake little rings of short crust and cool down. Pipe the Deli Yema into silicon moulds and bake. Cool down and freeze to demould easily. Put on a short crust ring and cover with the hot glaze Harmony Classic* (glaze). Decorate with caramelised sugar.

Put a wooden stick into the frozen Yema balls and dip frozen into the caramelised sugar and dip into fine pearl sugar (P1).

* Puratos product

Yema and Wild Berry Tart

Short crust

Tegral Patacrout* (short crust mix) 1000g
Mimetic 32* (lamination fat) 400g
Whole eggs 100g

Mix all ingredients to homogenous dough. Laminate to 3 mm and shape the shells. Fill with Vivafil Wild Blueberry* (fruit filling). Bake at 180°C for 20 min, damper open.

Composition & Decoration

Make a shortcrust in tart shapes, fill with the Vivafil Wild Blueberry* (fruit filling) and bake. Allow to cool down and pipe the Deli Yema* on top. Glaze with Harmony Neutral* (glaze).
Decorate with fresh blueberries.

* Puratos product

Yema Blondie


Tegral Satin Cream Cake* (cake mix) 500g
Belcolade Blanc Selection* (chocolate) 200g
Butter 25g
Oil 200g
Whole eggs 150g
Egg yolk 50g
Honey 50g
Roasted sliced almonds 60g
Roasted pecan nuts (diced) 60g

Melt chocolate and butter. Mix all liquid ingredients, then add Tegral Satin Cream Cake*. Mix for 3 min at medium speed. Add almonds and pecan nuts. Fill the silicon moulds two-thirds full and pipe the Deli Yema* inside. Bake at 180°C for approx. 20 min.

Crunchy coating

Belcolade Blanc Selection* (chocolate) 600g
Belcolade Cocoa Butter* (cocoa butter) 200g
Crisped rice 100g

Melt the chocolate and the cocoa butter together and add the crisped rice. Work the coating at 29-30°C.

Composition & Decoration

Make a brownie dough, fill with some Deli Yema* and bake. Allow to cool down to demould and cover with the crunchy glaze. Decorate with Carat Coverlux White* (compound chocolate) circles.

* Puratos product

Deli Solutions

Deli Yema

Made with eggs and sugar that have been gently heated together, to respect the original recipe, Deli Yema emulates the rich taste of that wellknown ‘crema de yema’.

For more information

Photo Credits
nito/Shutterstock.com; jan kranendonk/Shutterstock.com; outcast85/Shutterstock.com; Yema – photo from filipinofoodstore.com