These soft, delicate and buttery ube ensaymada are filled with creamy ube and topped with lots of cheddar cheese. You will be amazed at your first bite up to the last!
Ube ensaymada is another wonderful way to enjoy ube, one of the superstar desserts in the Philippines. One look and you can’t be mistaken, if a dessert is purple, it is ube.
Now home bakers, I dare you to take one first bite of this ube ensaymada and not cry tears of delight. Because I did!
It will be a disservice if I don’t prod you on to make these, because guys, they are so so good! The ensaymada (brioche), is so soft and fine, and the ube is so creamy with every bite. I heard a beautiful sound in my ears, and my world stopped at the first bite. No kidding!
Okay, I know you will look at the recipe and say, No way! Too Long! But hey, hey, wait up. If you give up before even trying, you won’t get to know the heavenly ube ensaymada that you won’t forget forever.
Besides, you are here because you and I are wired the same way. We both live for those beautiful golden things out of the oven. And you find deep joy in delicious baking successes. So girl (or boy), let’s do this!
How to Make Ube Ensaymada?
- First, make the sponge. Combine egg, 1 cup of flour, milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until incorporated.
- Sprinkle 1 cup of flour over the mixture to cover. Let this sit for about 45 minutes.
- After this period the flour will have visible cracks on the surface.
- This is now your sponge. Add the sugar, salt, eggs and 1 cup of flour to the bowl.
- Using a dough hook, run the heavy-duty mixer on low speed for about a minute, until the mixture is just about incorporated. Add the remaining half cup of flour and run the mixer on medium speed.
- Continue to beat, scraping the bowl as needed, for about 15-20 minutes. The dough should gather in the center and starts to climb up the dough hook. It should be slapping the sides of the bowl with sounds.
- Add the butter bit by bit with the mixer still running. The dough will start to fall apart again.
- Continue to beat the dough until the dough starts to gather in the center again.
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with a clean towel and let it rise for 2 hours.
- After rising, gently deflate the dough by lifting it section by section along the edge, until the dough shrinks in size again. Cover the bowl well and let the dough chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours to overnight.
- After the long chill, gently deflate the dough again and divide it in half. Wrap one half of the dough in plastic and refrigerate it while you work with the other half of the dough. Divide the dough into 12-13 portions.
- Flatten a portion into an oval that is about the size of your hands. Spoon about a tablespoon or two of the ube jam in the center of the dough and spread it out.
- Roll the dough into a log, starting on the long edge.
- Roll the log back and forth a few times against the surface just to elongate it a bit.
- Twist the log around to form a spiral bun, tucking the end underneath. Repeat with the rest of the portions.
- Arrange the buns on a large baking tray that is lined with parchment paper. Let these rise for about 1 and 1/2 hour, covered with a towel. Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush the surface of the buns with egg wash and bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes, or until golden. Let the buns cool slightly and top with grated cheese.
Ube Ensaymada Loaf Braid
(You can use the other half of the dough to make an ube ensaymada loaf.)
- To assemble, roll the other half of the dough into a rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick.
- Spread the ube jam across the rectangle dough.
- Roll the dough, starting on the long edge to form a log.
- Cut the log in half lengthwise, leaving an inch uncut on one end.
- Twist the two logs so the cut side is facing up.
- Now braid or twist the logs together. Seal and tuck the ends underneath. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let rise for 1 and 1/2 hours. Brush the surface of the dough with egg wash. Bake the risen pastry at 350 F for 17-20 minutes. The top should be golden.
Notes for Making Ube Ensaymada:
- When making the ube jam, it is important to constantly stir the mixture in the pan as to avoid any crust to form at the bottom. It can take a while and the consistency you are looking for should be a paste that is thick enough for spreading.
- You can make the brioche dough at least a day ahead. I always find it so convenient to have ready brioche dough in the fridge or freezer and just thaw it when I want to bake something.
- If you can’t find fresh ube where you are, buy the frozen variety that comes in 1 lb packages. Thaw it and skip the boiling. Add directly to the mixture.
- You can use all of the dough to make 24 buns or 2 loaves. Or you can do like I did, half of dough for the buns, another half for a loaf.
Yes, yes I know that was long, but trust me, once you taste them, you will not regret it for a moment. They are so worth every effort. Now stop overthinking and just begin 🙂
Looking for more sweets? Check these out:
- Peach Mango Pies
- How to Make Ensaymada
- How to Make Mamon
- Cassava Cake
- Ube Cheesecake
- Ube Loaf Bread
- Yema Mamon
- Ube Pie
- Ube Custard Tart
- Easy Egg Pie
Ube ensaymada is a rich brioche filled with creamy ube (purple yam) jam and topped with grated cheddar cheese.
FIRST PART: THE SPONGE
- 1/3 cup warm milk (temperature should be 105-115 F)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
SECOND PART: THE DOUGH
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 oz) room temperature
For the Egg Wash
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 2 cups (or more) cheddar cheese grated, for toppings
For the Ube (purple yam filling)
- 2.5 lbs fresh ube (purple yam) peeled, sliced into one-inch rounds and washed
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ube extract optional
MAKE THE SPONGE
In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, Add the yeast, milk, egg and 1 cup all-purpose flour. Mix with a rubber spatula just until combined. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of flour over the top as if to cover the mixture. Let this stand for about 40-45 minutes. There will be cracks on the flour surface at this point.
MAKE THE DOUGH
- Add the sugar, salt, eggs and 1 cup of flour to the bowl with the yeast mixture. Using a dough hook, run the heavy duty mixer on low speed for about a minute , until the mixture is just about incorporated. Add the remaining half cup of flour and run the mixer in medium speed. Continue to beat, scraping the bowl as needed, for about 15-20 minutes. You will know when the dough is ready if it is coming together in the center of the bowl, and also attaching itself into the dough hook. You should see the dough slapping the sides of the bowl, like it is almost violently throwing itself to the sides white it still clinging and rotating with the dough hook. You should also hear the slapping sounds. ( If you don't see the slapping action after ten minutes into the mixing , sprinkle about 2 -3 tbsp of flour to the bowl. Continue to beat until you reach the slapping stage , giving the dough a total of about 15-20 minutes in the mixer ).
- Now add the butter bit by bit. Make sure that the butter is in in room temperature, but not warm or oily. It should be pretty soft and malleable. It helps to enclose the butter inside a wax paper, press it down using your thumb or beat it with a rolling pin to give it a malleable consistency. When you add the butter, the dough will fall apart again for a moment. Continue to beat until you hear the slapping sounds again. This should take about 5 minutes or so. The dough is now , once again, clinging together in the center and in the dough hook with the slapping sound. Dough is sticky but shiny at this point.
- Place the ball of dough into a greased bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let stand in room temperature until the size is doubled, about 2 hours.
- After the dough has doubled in size. Simply lift it in sections until you have gone around the entire circle of dough, lifting and then letting it fall back to the bowl ( like deflating it but very gently. Do not punch the dough down.) Cover the bowl again with a plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. The dough will double in size again.
After chilling, divide the dough in half. Refrigerate the other half while you work on the other (or freeze for up to a month).
Ube Ensaymada Buns
Divide the dough into 12-13 portions. Flatten a portion into an oval that is about the size of your hands. Spoon about 2 tbsp of ube jam in the center and spread it out into a thin layer. Starting on the long edge, roll the oval into a log. Using your palms, roll the log back and forth against the surface just to elongate it a little bit so that you can twist it into a spiral. Twist the log to form a spiraled bun, tucking the end underneath. Repeat with the rest of the portions.
Arrange the buns on a large baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Cover the pan loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 to 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly beat an egg and 1 tbsp water to make the egg wash. Brush the surface of the buns with the egg wash. Bake the buns at 350 F for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and sprinkle the top generously with grated cheese. For decorations, add a dot of ube on top of the buns.
Ube Ensaymada Braided Loaf
On a floured surface, roll the remaining half of the dough using a rolling pin to a rectangle that is about 15 x 10 inches in size. Spread ube filling to the surface leaving about an inch of border. Roll the long edge of the dough into a log.
Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the log in half vertically starting from an inch below the top all the way to the other end, leaving the top end uncut. Turn the two cut logs so that the cut sides are facing up. Twist them together to form a spiral or braid. Tuck the ends under. Cover assembled dough with a clean towel and let rise for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush the surface of the dough with the egg wash. Bake the ensaymada for 17-20 minutes or until top is golden. Let ensaymada cool slightly then sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top.
Ube Filling (purple yam)
Add ube pieces to a medium saucepan and pour enough water over it to cover. Let them boil over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes or until very tender. Once the ube has cooled slightly, mash them until they are soft and creamy.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the evaporated milk, condensed milk and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the mashed ube and stir everything together. Stirring often, cook the mixture until the ube is softened and incorporated. Stir in the ube flavoring. Continue to cook and stir until the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is thick and sticky. This process takes about 40 minutes. The mixture will be thick but should still be spreadable. It is important to stir the mixture during cooking to prevent it from forming crusts. Turn off heat and allow the ube to cool (in the fridge if you are making this a day ahead). When you are ready to use the ube, make sure it is not too cold prior to spreading so that it glides easily to the dough.
- You can use all the dough to make 24 Ensaymada buns, or use them all to make 2 Ensaymada Loaves.
- Similarly you can do it like I did: use half the dough to make 12 buns and the other half to make a braided loaf.
- If you'd rather save one half of the dough , wrap it well in plastic, then in foil and freeze for up to a month.
- Since this recipe can be lengthy, you can break it into two days. I like to make the ube jam a day ahead and just store it in the fridge. Remember to take it out ahead though so it is not too chilled when you spread it on the dough.
- Also take note that the dough needs to chill in the fridge for alteast 6 hours to over night, so that automatically makes this recipe a two- day process.
Brioche recipe adapted From Nancy Silverton, from book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.