Ube jam

One of my favourite treats as a child growing up in the Philippines was the ube halaya (jam) from the Good Shepherd convent in Baguio. Anything flavoured with ube is generally delicious – ice cream, cake, cookies — but to me, the best way to enjoy it is simply by the spoonful, straight from the jar.

This was my first time to attempt making ube halaya at home. I used two different brands of grated ube. One was a darker purple than the other (probably due to some food colouring). It was also more coarsely grated. For good measure, I combined the darker purple ube with ube-flavoured condensed milk. So I ended up with two very different-looking jams, though they did taste pretty much the same.

Thanks to my cousin Christopher for sharing his recipe!

2 454-gram packs of grated ube (available in the frozen section of most Asian grocery stores)

1 can condensed milk

1 can coconut milk

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter

Ube extract for colour (optional)

1) Purée the grated ube, sugar and coconut milk to your desired consistency. You can skip this step if you have an immersion blender.

2) Place all the ingredients into a large, cold nonstick pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. As the butter melts, stir the ingredients together until everything is well mixed.

3) Add two or three drops of ube extract, if using. Stir it in and mix well.

4) Lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for about 30 to 40 minutes, until it reaches the thickness and consistency you like.

5) Transfer the mixture into jars. It will keep for a week in the fridge, or for a couple of months in the freezer.

If you leave it at a thinner consistency, you can use your ube jam to flavour treats like cakes, cupcakes — even homemade ice cream. The internet abounds with recipes…apparently ube has become trendy in recent years. Enjoy!

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