(This feature was published in WayToGo last November 4, 2016)
The purple yam has been a staple ingredient in pantries across the Philippines for eons, but now it looks all set to be a “ube-quitous” global food trend
Move over, matcha: there’s a new food craze that’s taking the world by storm. Ube (pronounced as “oo-beh”) or purple yam is a stem tuber just like potato and taro, and is a staple in local households and town fiestas. It is commonly served in desserts. Here are some of our favorite ube treats across the Metro.
Ube macapuno cake
Some things just go perfectly together — like bread and butter, coffee and cream, and ube andmacapuno (soft and sweet coconut meat). This ube macapuno cake highlights the classic combination brilliantly. The ube-flavored sponge cake is layered with macapuno strips and mousseline cream; the green color you see between the layers is a natural chemical reaction between the two ingredients. Topped with ube ice cream and yet more macapuno, it’s an incredibly moreish treat.
Restaurante Pia y Damaso, 2/F Greenbelt 5, Makati City; +63 729 5511; facebook.com/PiaYDamaso
Purple yam cheesecake
Aside from its eponymous ingredient, this silky-smooth and light cheesecake also contains red mung beans and macapuno. Even non-ube fans will be converted after taking a bite of this heavenly indulgence.
Starbucks, various locations; starbucks.ph
Ube mille crêpe
Mille crêpe is a classic French cake, but this version has been reinvented with local flair. It’s an impressive cake with layers upon layers of home-made ube and fresh cream, finished with a delicate macapuno glaze and dusted with the lightest ube chiffon crumbs. This purple masterpiece is almost too pretty to eat!
Paper Moon, various locations; facebook.com/papermooncafeph
Ubae 22 cookie
Home-based bakeshop Bald Baker specializes in inventive desserts. Its soft and chewy Ubae 22 cookies are studded with tiny white chocolate chips and topped with a thin layer of vanilla-bean cheesecake; they’re also hand-baked in small batches for maximum freshness. We bet that Cookie Monster would be pleased!
Bald Baker; thebaldbakerph.com
Ube leche flan cake
Ube is delish enough on its own, but combining it with rich caramel custard takes it to the next level. This ube chiffon cake topped with a thick, silky leche flan of caramel custard is the brainchild of chef Anne M. Atanacio. Its light cake base and creamy topping make for a delectable contrast of flavors and textures.
Anghelica’s Desserts; facebook.com/anghelicas.desserts
Ube hopia, tikoy roll and mochi
An innovative recipe in the form of ube hopia helped revive the flagging fortunes of Eng Bee Tin Chinese Deli, a traditional food establishment. Traditionally, this thin, flaky pastry is filled with mung bean paste, but the deli experimented with purple yam instead — and the ensuing creation proved to be a huge hit. Since then, the deli has gone on to make ube-flavored tikoy and mochi (both glutinous rice desserts). These treats are available locally and also exported all over the world — throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the USA.
Eng Bee Tin Chinese Deli, various locations; engbeetin.com
Ubelicious frozen yogurt
Pinkie’s Farm is known for its dairy products, such as frozen yogurt. Go for the Ubelicious flavor, which comes swirled with mouthwatering ube halaya (purple yam jam). Plus, this delicious treat is both additive- and preservative-free — as if you needed another reason to take one more bite!
Pinkie’s Farm; pinkiesfarm.com
Tittos ube churros
How about a local take on the popular Spanish treat that is churros? These ube-infused fried dough sticks come in a regal purple hue, which contrasts beautifully with their white-chocolate frosting, caramel and chocolate drizzle. It’s a sinful treat, but each bite is worth every calorie.
Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew, 16 Easy Capitol Dr, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City; +63 2 535 9212;facebook.com/TittosMNL
Purple yam cake
The humble fruit once again takes pride of place in this fresh, home-made purple yam mousseline blanketing crunchy layers of cashew meringue. The sweetness of the ube cake balances out the crunchy, nutty flavor of the meringue perfectly.
Kitchen’s Best, Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City; facebook.com/KitchensBest