Do you know of any vegetable that can be used as a dessert? Look no further.The ube or purple yam is a vegetable that makes awesome desserts like this Ube-Blueberry Tart. Ube, or purple yam is a tuber that grows on a vine, above ground. In the Philippines, it is a major vegetable crop and an important source of food. It is abundant in the last months of the year. And this is why during the Christmas holidays, a lot of desserts and snacks in the Philippines are made of ube.
Commonly grown in Asia, South America, Africa, the purple yam or ube as it is called in the Philippines is a tuber that can be cooked in many ways. At first sight, it looks like any old potato with a brown outer skin that is dull and rough. Once sliced, the heavy tuber looks pretty with a purple color and a juicy inner texture.
A favorite way to cook ube is to make “ube halaya” (ube jam). I buy fresh purple yams at the Asian markets when they’re in season the last months of the year from October to December. Or I purchase the frozen grated pre-boiled purple yams or ‘ube’ from Asian groceries which is available all year round. The tuber is peeled, boiled, then mashed, mixed and cooked with milk, sugar and butter. Some recipes call for mixing it with coconut cream or grated coconut meat. In all these ways ube is utterly delectable.
My sons grew up in America so when they first tasted ube jam from the Philippines, they were delirious with delight, and described it as having a dairy-like, sweet fruity taste, though quite rich. Open the jar, and the sight of the dark purple, thick jam of mashed-potato-consistency, with its swirly mass invites you to stick a spoon and just dig into the dark sweetness.
It is towards the end of the year when I start to make more desserts and pastries using ube, not only because it is available in Asian markets but because this tuber reminds me of the holidays. So I got to work.
The plump, tart blueberries cooked in syrup and laced with lemon juice, popped in my mouth. Unexpectedly a burst of fresh blueberry juice released its glory in my being. I closed my eyes dreamily as I licked the spoonful of sweet purple yam the berries were cradled in. And last but not the least, I gingerly balanced the flakey, buttery pastry crust on the fork and in a swift motion ate it all up. It was a mountainful of blueberries, purple yam and buttery crust all in one. I could not believe that this delightful dessert just came out of my oven. I am glad I made enough to fill 6 mini tart molds with removable bottoms for my family to enjoy.
Ube- Blueberry Tarts
- 1/2 cup melted, for tart unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cup for tart all purpose flour
- 8 Tablespoons or 1 stick for tart unsalted butter, chilled
- 2 Tablespoons for tart sugar
- 1 whole beaten, chilled, for tart egg
- 2 cups from Asian markets frozen grated purple yam (ube)
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- 1 cup granulated sugar for blueberries
- 2 cups fresh blueberries for filling
- fresh lemon juice from half a lemon
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries washed, dried, for topping
- Make the tart shells first. Brush 6 tart molds with removable bottoms with the melted butter. In a food processor, combine the flour, butter and sugar. Pulse for a few seconds until crumbly. Add the egg and pulse till dough turns a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for half an hour.Divide the dough in six portions and on a floured surface, roll each portion into a large circle that will fit the tart mold. Leave ¼ inch overhang. As the recipe suggests, the dough will shrink. Press the dough along the sides of the pan and prick the bottom with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more. Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees. Bake the shells for 15 minutes till brown. Let cool on racks before removing the shells from the molds.
- For the filling, combine the purple yam, sugar, coconut milk, whole milk and heavy cream in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. (Note: I made this purple yam filling the day before).
- This makes 2 cups of purple yam cream. When cooled mix cooled purple yam cream with the creme fraiche.
- .For the blueberry sauce, heat the sugar and ¼ cup water in a medium saucepan, over medium heat until caramelized, or a dark brown color. Add the fresh blueberries and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Keep warm.
- To assemble : fill each shell with 1/3 cup purple yam cream and top with ½ cup fresh blueberries. Pour warm blueberry sauce over the tarts and serve.
- Cook's comments: To make a whole tart, use a large 9-inch pie plate. Place a single pie crust at the bottom. Brush with melted butter. Prick with a fork for four times around the pie plate. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Fill the pie shell with the ube-purple yam filling, blueberries and syrup. Serve warm or cold.