Food & Drinks Life

These 7 bright purple desserts have a secret ingredient that is totally changing the food game

If you’ve frequented Instagram recently, you might have seen a barrage of photos of purple-colored food.

Whether in ice cream, cupcakes or waffles, these seemingly radioactive foods come naturally from an ingredient Filipinos have had in their households for generations: Ube.

Ube, also known as a purple yam, is a tuberous root vegetable commonly grown in the Philippines and other tropical Asian countries. Filipinos have passed down sweet and savory recipes with ube for generations. These yams are naturally bright purple in a way that’s both disarming and enthralling.

[bctt tweet=”It’s safe to say that a hallmark of Filipino cuisine is taking the world by storm. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Now naturalized in tropical regions internationally, it’s safe to say that a hallmark of Filipino cuisine is taking the world by storm. Ube is easily the best-kept food secret of Filipino cuisine because of its subtle flavor and natural color it gives to otherwise mundane food. Now it’s easily become the most “Instgrammable” food making the viral rounds today.

Here are seven traditionally Filipino and non-traditional ube desserts that will make you rethink your dessert game completely:

1. Halo Halo

Halo Halo is easily the most recognizable Filipino dessert. The decadent dessert is a mix of beans, sugar palm fruit, coconut, plantains, jackfruit, tapioca pearls, nata de coco and evaporated milk on top of shaved ice, ice cream and leche flan.

Although the diverse array of ingredients that go into halo halo can differ from recipe-to-recipe, the one consistency seems to be ube, which tops the entire dessert. Try out a recipe here.

2. Ube macaron

Meet everyone’s favorite tiny French dessert combined with everyone’s favorite Filipino flavor: ube macarons. This meringue-based confection works perfectly with the subtly sweet flavor of ube, not to mention ube gives it a naturally purple shade without any artificial food dyes. This dessert is every hipster foodie’s dream in a tiny little package.

[bctt tweet=”This dessert is every hipster foodie’s dream in a tiny little package.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Watch this video to try making it yourself.

3. Ube cheesecake

You can make a cheesecake out of just about anything (if you’re not convinced, take a quick trip to the Cheesecake Factory), and it’s no surprise that ube isn’t an exception to that. Not only does it amp up the color game, but once again, ube’s subtle sweetness is a winner here and is a perfect complement to any plain cheesecake.

Learn how to make a baked or no-bake ube cheesecake.

4. Ube Leche Flan Cake

The ube leche flan cake is a creative take on two Filipino favorites: ube cake and leche flan. Why have your favorite desserts separately when you can simply have them at the same time? This hybrid dessert layers the leche flan custard atop ube-flavored cake.

[bctt tweet=”Why have your favorite desserts separately when you can have them at the same time?” username=”wearethetempest”]

Although the process of baking this dessert is pretty extensive, it’s beyond worth the wait. Try out a great recipe here.

5. Ube pop tarts

Pop tarts are an American favorite in convenient snacks, but now people are actually wanting to take the time to bake their own pop tarts from scratch.

This might seem counter-intuitive to a pop tart’s purpose, but there’s nothing more rewarding than customizing your favorite snack by making it with your bare hands, especially when you’re adding a Filipino favorite to it. Check out a great recipe here.

6. Ube kalamay

Kalamay is a sticky, sweet Filipino rice dessert that can be flavored with just about anything and has popularly been done with ube. This sticky dessert is made of the grated yam, coconut milk, brown sugar, and ground glutinous rice. The name of the game here is gooey, and with this dessert’s purple color, it makes it all the more fun to eat.

[bctt tweet=”The name of the game here is gooey.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Check out a recipe here.

7. Ube pancakes

Ube is an extremely versatile ingredient, so much so that it can be a part of a hearty breakfast. Ube pancakes have provided breakfast lovers with an eclectic version of an otherwise square meal.

Even if you’re not much of a morning person, this take on pancakes will certainly brighten up your day. Pair it with macapuno in this recipe.

By Alicia Soller

Alicia Soller is a first generation-born Filipinx American digital storyteller committed to uplifting the narratives of communities of color. She is a graduate of the University of Florida, where she received her B.S. in Journalism and began her involvement with community organizing. She currently does freelance writing, marketing and design work with non-profit organizations.