Creamy purple yam pudding, also called ube jam, ube pudding, and ube halaya, is one of the coolest desserts you’ll ever make! At once striking, delicious and versatile, this is definitely one to make when you want the wow factor.
A traditional Filipino dessert, ube halaya is a sweet, creamy pudding dessert that is made from the tropical purple winged yam called ube (read all about ube here). Ube is somewhat like sweet potato, but with a more smooth and creamy texture. Its mild nutty/vanilla flavour lends itself to sweet desserts, where it is naturally a standout feature.
This is a fairly easy recipe to make; you’re basically cooking the ube first, grating it, then putting all the ingredients together in one pot and stirring until it’s ready. Using frozen ube instead of fresh will make the process even faster. Ube is certainly a less-common vegetable, and can be difficult to find in its fresh form. Frozen ube works just as well for this recipe, and is readily available online and from Filipino grocers worldwide.
Creamy purple yam pudding (ube halaya) can be eaten as a dessert, used as a spread, or as an ingredient. Here, I’ve served it Filipino-style, spooned into dessert bowls & topped with roasted coconut, but it’s so much more than that. You can decant it into glass jars and use it as a spread on bread or crackers. Freeze portions for later consumption, add to ice cream, breads, pastries, cheesecake, tea, waffles, pancakes, and more.
Here’s How to Make It
Harvest and cut your ube, or defrost if using frozen ube. I grew my own, and cut it up to fit neatly into my steamer (it’s very easy to cut btw!). If you don’t have a steamer, boiling is fine too.
Steam the ube until tender- about 45 minutes. When it’s ready, it should taste like a potato chip, and not at all bitter (if it’s bitter, it’s not ready). You will be able to stick a knife through it easily, as shown above.
Once it has finished cooking, let it cool completely. Cut the skin off, then grate it. Set aside.
Add the milks, sugar and salt to the pan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. This will be when the milks have combined and the mixture is the colour of condensed milk.
Add the grated ube and stir well to combine.
Turn the heat up to medium and blend with a stick blender. If you don’t have a stick blender, you can use a benchtop food processor or blender instead. Blend until the mixture is very smooth. Once blended, bring to the boil while stirring.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and continue cooking for 45-60 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent sticking & burning. When the pudding starts to thicken, stir in the vanilla, lemon juice and butter.
If you want to add ube extract as well, do it now. Be careful when handling the extract, as it is very strong and may stain clothing. Cook until the consistency is that of a thick custard. Keep stirring, as this is a dessert that can stick to the pan and/or splatter you easily. You need to take it off the heat when it is thinner than you need, as (just like custard) it will thicken significantly as it cools. When your pudding is ready, take it off the heat and spoon into moulds, bowls or jars as you like. Cool completely, then refrigerate. Creamy purple yam pudding (ube halaya) will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Purple Yam Jam Pudding (Ube Halaya)
- 1 large heavy-based saucepan
- 1 stick blender
- 1 steamer or saucepan if cooking fresh ube
- glass jars or moulds optional
- 750 grams ube, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup coconut milk full fat, not light
- 1 cup condensed milk
- 1 cup castor sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tsp ube extract optional
- 20 grams coconut, for topping optional
- If using fresh ube, steam or boil until fully tender. Leave to cool, then peel and grate.
- If using frozen ube, thaw to room temperature.
- Add the milks, sugar, salt to the pan, and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the grated ube, and stir to combine.
- Heat to medium-high, then blend with a stick blender, so the mixture becomes as smooth as possible.
- Once blended, bring the mixture to a boil. Stir continually.
- Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and continue cooking for 40-60 minutes. Stir continually (or continuously if required) to prevent the jam from sticking & burning.
- When the jam starts to thicken, whisk in the vanilla, lemon juice and butter.
- If you want to add ube extract as well, do it now.
- Cook until the consistency is that of a thick custard. You need to take it off the heat when it is thinner than you need, as it will thicken significantly as it cools.
- If keeping as a spread, carefully spoon the mixture into glass jars while hot and put the lids on. Allow the jam to cool down to room temperature then refrigerate. The ube jam will last in the fridge for about 5 days, and about 3 months in the freezer.If making into a dessert, spoon the mixture into greased moulds and place straight into fridge.