"Have you ever head of Ube pronounced “oo-bay”? I hadn’t, until the colourful purple yam kind of broke Instagram recently with Manila Social Club’s 24-carat gold-glazed, Cristal-and-ube mousse-flavoured doughnut. Since then Ube has been been showing up in all kinds of sweet treats from cakes and pies to ice cream.
Ube hails from the Philippines and is often eaten boiled or as a sweetened spread. Its taste is quite unique and very subtle – somewhere between pistachio, coconut and vanilla. You will be hard pressed to find it in the UK (although purple sweet potatoes are sometimes available at specialist markets) but you can buy the spread and Ube flavouring on Amazon and Asian supermarkets.
I decided to make doughnuts filled with Ube pastry cream and they were a sweet (purple!) success. The dough can be either fried or baked as it is essentially choux dough. I found the baked version kept its shape much better than the fried but both taste equally delicious! Make sure you make two batches of the pastry cream in the recipe below and chill overnight in the fridge for best results."
For the doughnut/eclairs
For the pastry cream
NOTE: Double the recipe to fill 10xdonuts
For the glaze
Make the pastry cream first. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornflour, eggs, Ube flavouring and food colouring using a balloon whisk.
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until small bubbles appear along the edge of the pan. Do not allow it to boil. Gradually pour the hot milk into the bowl while whisking to avoid curdling the eggs. Whisk together until well mixed.
Pour back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until the cream thickens.
Take off the heat and stir in the butter and Ube spread until it is incorporated.
Strain the pastry cream, pressing on the back of sieve with a spoon, into a bowl.
Place cling film directly on the surface to stop a skin from forming. Snip a small hole on the clingfilm to allow steam to escape and chill for at least 2 hours or, ideally, overnight.
Make the dough for the doughnut/eclairs. Put the water and butter in a small pot. Heat until the butter melts and mixture comes to a boil. Take pot off the heat.
Immediately add the flour and cornflour and vigorously stir until they come together into a smooth ball of dough. Put back over low heat and cook for a minute, stirring all the time.
Transfer the dough into a bowl and add the sugar. Beat with a hand mixer until mixed in and the dough has cooled down slightly.
Gradually add the eggs into the dough while mixing on low speed. The dough will separate initially but then come together again. It is ready when shiny and hanging in a long strip from the beater.
Stir in the baking powder and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round
Grease a large piece of baking parchment with a little butter and then pipe large rings, spaced slightly apart, on it. Cut the paper so each ring sits on a little square.
Fill a deep pot about halfway with oil. Bring the oil to 175C – check with a digital thermometer. Carefully drop the doughnut into the oil, pulling out the paper (they will slide off). Cook them one or two at a time until puffed and golden on both sides. Drain on kitchen towels and cool before filing. Alternatively, to bake the doughnuts, preheat the oven to 220C (200 Fan assisted) and bake for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven once crisp and poke holes on the bottom to release the steam. Turn the oven off and leave them in there to cool with the door slightly ajar.
Transfer the pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip and fill the doughnuts/eclairs carefully.
Mix all the ingredients for the glaze together adding enough water or lemon juice until is really thick, glossy and just pourable. Put the doughnut on a wire rack set over a roasting tin and pour the glaze over them to cover letting it drip down the sides.
Add any decorations while the glaze is still fresh. Serve immediately.