From leche flan to halo-halo, the Philippines has a plethora of delectable local desserts to try. We enjoy experimenting with various sugary ingredients to find the perfect flavor balance. Ube Halaya, with its comfortingly velvety texture and mildly sweet flavor, is one of those delectably well-balanced desserts. It’s also known as ube jalea, ube jam, or ube haleya. They all, however, represent the same consistently creamy and delicious dessert.
We basically make it by cooking some ube or purple yams. Then we add some milk and sugar to the mix to get that distinct sticky and smooth texture. We usually find it in a llanera or an oval-shaped metal container alongside our leche flan.
But for this recipe, we’ll keep things simple by cooking it in a single pot.
This recipe can also be considered an improvement. This is due to the addition of the delectable savory flavor of cheddar cheese as a topping. The flavors are a match made in heaven, complementing the mild sweetness of our ube and making this dessert even more irresistible.
However, it is also commonly served with latik or slightly crispy coconut bits. These impart a toasty sweetness to the dish. If you’d like to top your Ube Halaya with this, feel free to check out my recipe.
And because our flavor combination in Ube Halaya is so well balanced,It also goes well with a variety of other desserts.
What can I eat this with?
Ube Halaya already has a fantastic flavor combination. As a result, it also works well as a standalone dessert. On a cold day, many people say this goes especially well with a cup of decadent, rich hot chocolate. You could also pair it with ginger tea or salabat. This can help to balance out the sweetness with a hint of spice.
However, you can have fun with this versatile dish by combining it with other ingredients. Tired of eating peanut butter sandwiches? You can spread a generous amount of this on your bread. After all, it’s also a fantastic spread. This gives you a more substantial meal to go with your delicious ube-infused jam.
And if you want to get even more creative, try making some ube ice cream with this jam and some whole milk. Instead of starting with whole purple yams, this jam would make it easier to make a thick, creamy ube cheesecake. Essentially, the possibilities for this simple but delicious dish are limitless! It’s no surprise that it’s become somewhat of a household name. But, where does Ube Halaya come from?
How did Ube Halaya become such a famed Filipino dish?
The exact origins of this dish are still a mystery to this day. This is because, according to food historians, the origins of ube as a dessert ingredient were not recorded or written down on paper. As a result, when and how it was specifically invented remain unknown. A recipe for jalea de calabaza, or pumpkin jam, appeared in the second earliest Filipino cookbook in 1918. However, ube halaya was omitted from the list. The process described for pumpkin jam, on the other hand, appears to be similar to what they would probably do with ube for halaya.
However, many people believe that the traditional recipe uses fresh carabao’s milk. When condensed milk and evaporated milk arrived in the Philippines, they quickly replaced this with other ingredients. During the American colonization period, such ingredients were brought over, making the cooking process easier and the dessert generally sweeter.
Today’s recipes vary, but I like to use a combination of condensed milk, coconut milk, and butter for the dairy component in the actual Ube Halaya mixture.
Let’s make some subtly sweet and delicious Ube Halaya!
We’ll make enough Ube Halaya for four people with this recipe. Begin by putting 2 cups of coconut milk in a large cooking pot. Allow to come to a boil, then thoroughly stir. Pour in 114 ounces of canned condensed milk for extra creaminess.
When your mixture has started to boil, add 1 pound of grated purple yam and 1 teaspoon of ube flavoring. Cook your mixture for another 30 minutes on medium heat. As it cooks, keep stirring it constantly.
After half an hour, add 3 tablespoons of butter and stir the mixture. Continue to cook until your mixture has thickened to the consistency you prefer for your ube halaya. After I’ve added my butter, I leave the pot to cook for another 10 to 12 minutes.
Once you’ve completed all of those steps, you can place your vibrant, purple mixture in your container of choice. 12 cup shredded cheddar cheese on top to complete the Ube Halaya with cheese look! You can serve this as a dessert or as a spread, as previously mentioned.
How should I store my Ube Halaya?
By storing your freshly cooked Ube Halaya in the refrigerator, you can keep it fresh for up to 5 days. However, once it has been cooked, allow it to cool to room temperature before placing it inside.
But what if you want it to last more than five days? Maybe you have a couple of upcoming events where you’d like to bring this homemade dish. The good news is that you can still freeze this to keep it fresh for a long time. You can store your Ube Halaya in an airtight container. Then freeze it for two months!
When you’re ready to eat it again, this can also be enjoyed chilled. You can also wait for it to cool to room temperature to enjoy it in its normal texture. And if you want to try similar dishes or Filipino desserts in the future, keep reading for a couple of my suggestions!
Try making some of these Filipino desserts as well!
If you’ve ever had Biko, a sweet and sticky local rice cake, you’re probably familiar with the majority of this dish’s appeal. It’s deliciously milky, sweet, and filling. The twist in Ube Biko is right in the name, and it’s in the addition of that lovely Filipino favorite ingredient. This dish, like our original, features some delicious purple yams in the center.
As a result, you get less of the toffee-like flavor of brown sugar. Instead, the subtle, sweet flavor of ube takes center stage in this dish. While it already excels in terms of taste, you also get the added benefit of its vibrant visual appeal. Serve this on your dinner table to wow your guests with a gorgeous plate of purple, coconut-y heaven!
Coconut is a common ingredient in a variety of Filipino dishes, both sweet and savory. But the popularity of this beloved fruit is due to more than just its accessibility and how well it grows in the country. It also adds subtle but delectable flavor notes to a variety of dishes. And it pairs well with our grated purple yam and its vanilla-like flavor in our Ube Kalamay.
It’s a sweet and sticky dessert made with rice flour, just like the previous recipe. But it has a one-of-a-kind consistency that makes it a standout dish for special occasions and fiestas.
Ube Pichi Pichi
Because of its smaller size and just-right flavor combination, Ube Pichi Pichi is the ideal dessert snack to keep popping into your mouth. But after a couple of bites, you might be surprised at how full you’ll feel due to the generous amount of grated cassava and coconut in this dish. Because of how naturally filling it is, this is the type of meryenda that can stand alone.
Making this dish can also be a lot of fun because it involves a lot of steaming. If you have access to a bamboo steamer, this is a fantastic recipe to try. The steps for this dish are also fairly simple, as you’ll primarily be mixing, waiting for the pichi pichi pieces to steam, and then coating them in shredded coconut. Serve this as a tasty and sweet local treat at your next picnic or gathering!
Yema is a popular Filipino snack that brings back childhood memories of receiving these cellophane-wrapped treats from grandmothers or purchasing them from the school canteen. Even if it takes most people back to their childhood, this is a dessert that people of all ages enjoy. Despite the fact that we only use two different types of ingredients, the flavor we create through this combination is absolutely delicious.
The yema candy, with its mildly nutty flavor and sugary flavor, appeals to most people, Filipino or not. This is why you should definitely attempt to make some of these at home. It’s the ideal snack to serve to family, friends, and other visitors! Just make sure to have some colorful cellophane wrapping on hand to complete the experience.
What did you think of these recipes, as well as our Ube Halaya? If you have any feedback or suggestions, please leave them in the comments section!
- 1 lb. grated purple yam
- 1 14 oz. can condensed milk
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon ube flavoring
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Pour coconut milk in a cooking pot. Let boil.
Stir and add the condensed milk.
Once the mixture starts to boil, add the grated purple yam and ube flavoring. Continue to cook in medium heat while continuously stirring for 30 minutes.
Add butter. Stir. Cook until the mixture reaches your desired thickness. (I usually cook it for 10 to 12 minutes after adding butter).
Transfer to a container. Top with shredded cheese.
Serve. Share and enjoy!
What is Ube Halaya with Cheese, and how is it different from traditional Ube Halaya?
Ube Halaya with Cheese is a Filipino dessert made from purple yam (ube) that’s sweetened and mixed with cheese. It’s a variation of traditional Ube Halaya, which doesn’t typically include cheese. The cheese adds a savory and creamy element to the dessert.
What are the key ingredients for making Ube Halaya with Cheese?
The main ingredients include grated purple yam (ube), coconut milk, condensed milk, butter, cheese (commonly cheddar), and sugar. These ingredients are combined and cooked to create the dessert.
How do I prepare Ube Halaya with Cheese, and what is the cooking process like?
To prepare Ube Halaya with Cheese, you typically start by cooking the grated purple yam with coconut milk, condensed milk, and butter over low heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning. The cheese is added later in the process. The mixture is cooked until it thickens to a desired consistency.
Can I use different types of cheese in Ube Halaya with Cheese?
While cheddar cheese is commonly used, you can experiment with other types of cheese, such as cream cheese or queso de bola (Edam cheese). Different cheeses will provide varying flavors and textures to the dessert.
Are there any variations or creative toppings for Ube Halaya with Cheese?
Some people like to garnish Ube Halaya with grated cheese on top for added cheesiness. You can also top it with sweetened coconut strips (macapuno) or even a drizzle of condensed milk for extra sweetness.