Our Take on the Ilonggo Teren-Teren Has Yema as Its Filling

Jica Simpas (@jicasimpas)

Jica Simpas (@jicasimpas), Jerome Jocson (@emowredge)

Jica Simpas (@jicasimpas)

One of our senior editor’s favorite things to bring back from her hometown of Iloilo is teren-teren. It’s a local bread made up of four to six connected pieces (resembling a train, hence the name), filled with a sweet butter and sugar mixture. It’s simple yet delicious, so we decided to make some ourselves; except we’re filling our teren-teren with yema, inspired by Camiguin’s pastel.

This teren-teren will make you go chew-chew.

There’s a bit of work needed to make this recipe, given that you’re basically filling 32 small pieces of bread. But it’s really not that tedious. Based on experience, it even becomes a bit relaxing at some point.

Some tips: don’t over-knead your dough. You’ll want it a bit sticky (but not so much that when you touch it, dough stays on your skin) so that it connects more easily when you start building your “trains.” Your yema filling is going to look wet, but don’t worry. It will set as it cools, and eventually become easy to scoop into the dough. Don’t over-proof your dough during the second rise, or else you’ll end up with too big pieces.

Yema Teren-Teren Recipe



Serving Size

4-8 people

Active Time

1 hr

Total Time

3 hrs

Special Tools

  • Stand mixer


  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk, for milk wash

Yema Filling

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 3 eggs

Instructions for Yema Teren-Teren

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in milk. Let proof for 5 mins.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour and salt.
  3. Add the butter, egg, and milk mixture into the bowl.
  4. Knead dough on low speed until smooth, elastic, and just a bit tacky, about 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel (or plastic wrap), and let rise 30 mins to 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Meanwhile, make the yema filling. Add condensed milk and eggs in a small sauce pan.
  7. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture forms a thick but fluid yema texture.
  8. Set aside to cool.
  9. Once risen, punch down dough, then divide into 2 equal parts. Keep half of the dough in the fridge to prevent it from over-proofing while you work on the first set of teren-terens.
  10. Divide the first half of the dough into 16 equal pieces, rolling each into a smooth ball.
  11. Working one piece at a time, flatten each ball into a circle with your hand, then spoon yema mixture (about 1/2 tbsp) into the center.
  12. Gather the edges of the dough, sealing the yema inside, then roll back into a ball.
  13. Connect four balls together by placing them side-by side like train carts. Repeat until you have four 4-piece teren-terens, placing each in a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  14. Run a sharp knife through the top each teren-teren to expose yema filling.
  15. Brush with milk wash.
  16. Let proof for 30 mins, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, repeat the shaping and filling process with the remaining half of dough.
  17. Bake in a 300F oven for 20mins.

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