This is an excerpt from Eater’s debut cookbook focusing on a stunning brunch dish to add to your repertoire, care of Kamayan in Atlanta.
Mia Orino and Carlo Gan have captured Atlanta’s heart with their craveable Filipino fare. Their fanciful cups of halo-halo in particular are a hit — they come tricked out with flag snack picks, sprinkles of Fruity Pebbles, and homemade ice cream and toppings like leche flan. The wobbly custard is a classic halo-halo topping; while it is luscious on its own, it brings a deep, creamy caramel flavor to the mix. At family gatherings — and in the recipe below — Orino and Gan’s halo-halo is more of a DIY affair. Set up a halo-halo bar at home: You can keep it casual and use bowls or 20-ounce (600 ml) drinking glasses, or you can take a page from how these two do it at home and use empty coconut shells. Stock up on cocktail umbrellas and decorative picks so you can give your halo-halo the Kamayan look.
Kamayan’s Halo-Halo Recipe
Serves 4 to 8
For the leche flan:
1⁄4 cup (50 grams) sugar
5 large egg yolks (250 grams)
7 ounces (198 grams) condensed milk
2 drops vanilla extract (optional)
6 ounces (177 grams) evaporated milk
To serve the halo-halo:
8 cups shaved ice (use a blender or ice shaver)
1 to 2 cans evaporated milk or condensed milk
2 quarts cow’s, almond, soy, coconut, or oat milk
1 bottle ube jam
1 large carton ube, mango, or coconut ice cream
4 cups rice cereal or corn cereal, or other cereal of your choice
2 packs Pocky Sticks or wafer sticks
Jarred tapioca pearls or sago (or if using dried, follow package directions on how to cook)
Jarred banana in syrup
Canned sweet potatoes in syrup
Canned sweetened jackfruit
Canned adzuki or sweet red beans Jarred coconut jelly (nata de coco)
Jarred kaong (sugar palm fruit jelly)
Jarred sweetened chickpeas
1 package gulaman (agar-agar), prepared according to package instructions
Canned young coconut strips
Jarred sweetened navy, pinto, or white kidney beans
Step 1: To make the leche flan, in a small heavy-bottomed pan, combine the sugar with 11⁄2 tablespoons water. Cook over low heat until the mixture has some color. Move, swirl, and tilt the pan when the sugar starts to dissolve and becomes a syrup, turning amber. Remove from the heat and pour into an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan. Let the caramel cool and harden.
Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, condensed milk, and vanilla, if using. Add the evaporated milk and mix until well combined. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).
Step 4: Pour the egg mixture into the square pan, covering the caramel. Cover with aluminum foil. Place the pan in a larger baking pan that will accommodate it. Pour hot water into the larger baking pan up to 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) high or half of the height of the smaller pan.
Step 5: Bake the flan for about 1 hour, until you can insert a toothpick in the middle and the custard comes out clean. Cool the flan completely and transfer to the refrigerator to chill, preferably overnight.
Step 6: Slice into 1-inch (2.5 centimeters) cubes to use as a topping for your halo-halo.
Step7: To serve, lay out all your ingredients on the table in serving bowls and encourage guests to make their own halo-halos.
Step 8: To make a halo-halo, place shaved ice in a 20-ounce (600 ml) glass, dessert bowl, coconut shell, or other serving vessel, then pour in your desired amount of condensed milk or evaporated milk and cow’s or nondairy milk. Top with a cube of leche flan, a ball of ube jam, a scoop or two of ice cream, and as much of the optional toppings as you like.
Sprinkle with cereal and garnish with wafer sticks and enjoy immediately.
Recipe tested by Louiie Victa
Adapted from EATER: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes by Hillary Dixler Canavan. Text and illustrations copyright © Vox Media, LLC. Text by Hillary Dixler Canavan and illustrations by Alice Oehr. Photography copyright © 2023 by Laura Murray. Published by Abrams.