Filipino Food: Ube Ice Cream

An empty jar of the purple stuff. Oh, yeah...
According to all my sources (family, Filipino friends, cookbooks, the internet) ube is a sweet purple yam that is grown in the Philippines. I personally have never seen it. And I've only purchased ube as a spread by the jar, which has a dark and dramatic purple hue. Being the obedient Filipino child that I was, I never questioned where the color came from, and I currently lack the desire to research it further. Ignorance is bliss--and so is ube.

I've prepared ube three ways: 1. as small sponge cakes called puto, 2. as a thick, sticky paste served up in slabs (which tastes better than it sounds), and 3. as ice cream. Guess which way is my favorite?

I scream! You scream! We all scream for ube ice cream!

The best way to make ube ice cream is to use a recipe for coconut ice cream and add ube to it. I've tried making it with a vanilla ice cream recipe and the ube needed something to balance it. Coconut provides the perfect yin to ube's yang.

I like using the coconut ice cream recipe on the Food Network website . My ice cream maker can only hold a 1/2 gallon, so I have to cut the ingredients in half and substitute the coconut flakes with ube.

Here is my revised list of ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
7 oz coconut milk (1/2 can)
6 oz ube spread (1/2 jar)
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
pinch of salt

Lightly whisk together the whole milk, heavy cream, coconut milk, and ube in a pot and bring to a simmer over low to medium heat. Let the mixture simmer for a minute. Turn off heat and allow to cool for ten minutes.
In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Then add to the pot and whisk all the ingredients together over low to medium heat. When mixture starts to thicken, turn off heat. Pass mixture through a fine mesh strainer and into a chilled mixing bowl. Place bowl in the refrigerator and let it cool for 2 hours. Churn in an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.

One last word on ube:

Maharlika in NYC serves ube in their Flip'd Chicken and Ube Waffle dish. This has got to be my FAVORITE dish in the whole world. It brings me to tears when I see it, and I almost faint when I take my first bite. If you live in or are traveling to NYC, you really must try this dish. And tell them a crazy Filipina chick from Brooklyn sent ya...