The softness of the brioche, and the creamy, buttery ube (purple yam) filling make these ube ensaymada amazing out of the oven. Make this pretty braided ube ensaymada and impress your guests with a lovely pastry centerpiece.
Ube ensaymada is another wonderful way to enjoy ube, the very widely popular dessert ingredient in the Philippines.
One look and you can’t be mistaken. If a dessert is purple, it is ube.
Ube is very much comparable to a sweet potato. It is starchy and earthy, and its neutral taste profile makes it perfect as a base element to which milk, butter and sugar are added. It is made into a creamy jam or paste dessert.
Ube has become a distinct element of Filipino cuisine and of the Filipino culture all over the world. Here is a list of some desserts made with ube.
Ensaymada on the other hand, is a Filipino variation of brioche. The rich and fine pastry is topped with all sorts of sweet toppings, with butter and cheddar cheese being the most common.
Ube ensaymada is a wonderful union of the two Filipino dessert superpowers. All pretty and unique , this brioche is elegantly shaped into a braid with the distinct purple color peeking out of the golden pastry.
This braided assembly showcases the pretty purple dessert in a single pull apart bread style.
For a step by step photo tutorial on making the brioche, check out this post to guide you. You will only use half the dough for this ensaymada braid. You can then wrap the other half in plastic, then in foil and freeze it for up to three weeks to a month.
Either that or you can make two ube ensaymada at once. Your call.
Ube Ensaymada Braid: The Assembly
To assemble, roll the proofed brioche dough into a rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick. You are essentially starting as if you are making cinnamon rolls. Spread the ube jam across the rectangle dough.
Roll the long side of the dough to form a log. Cut the dough 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. Then let rise for 1 and 1/2 hours.
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 freezer and just thaw it when I want to bake something.
- You can find frozen grated ube in Asian supermarkets. Sometimes they also have them fresh in the produce section. If that is the case, simply grate the purple yam and cook as directed here in the recipe.
You can’t go wrong with this ube ensaymada. The creamy and sweet ube that is enclosed in the buttery and rich brioche is downright heavenly.
Make this and enjoy delicious ube for snack, or even breakfast.
Now, excuse me as I grab a piece.
Ube Ensaymada Braid
Rich brioche filled with creamy ube (purple yam) jam.
FIRST PART: THE SPONGE
- 1/3 cup warm milk (temperature should be 110 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
For the Ube (purple yam filling)
- 1 lb frozen grated ube thawed
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk 300 ml
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp sugar
MAKE THE SPONGE
In the bowl of 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 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.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE
After chilling, divide the dough in half. Refrigerate the other half while you work on the other (or freeze for up to a month). In a floured surface, roll 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 side of the dough into a log and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the log in half vertically starting from an inch below the first end all the way to the other end, leaving the first end uncut. Twist 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 clean towel and let rise for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake the ensaymada for 17-20 minutes or until top is golden. Let ensaymada cool slightly then brush the tops with softened butter or margarine. Sprinkle with sugar.
Make the Ube Filling (purple yam)
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the evaporated milk and condensed milk and stir until heated. Add the grated ube (purple yam) and continuously stir everything together. This process takes about 40-50 minutes until the ube is cooked. 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.
Repeat the assembly steps for the other half of dough or freeze for up to a month.
Brioche recipe adapted From Nancy Silverton, from book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.