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Ube ensaymada on a serving plate.
4.34 from 3 votes

Ube Ensaymada

Ube ensaymada is a rich brioche filled with creamy ube (purple yam) jam and topped with grated cheddar cheese.

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Asian, Filipino
Keyword bakery, Goldilocks Bakeshop
Prep Time 4 hours 35 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chilling the Dough 6 hours
Total Time 10 hours 55 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 357 kcal
Author sanna



  • 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


  • 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



  1. 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.


  1. 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 ).
  2. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Recipe Notes

  • 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. 

Nutrition Facts
Ube Ensaymada
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 357 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 90mg30%
Sodium 283mg12%
Potassium 457mg13%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 507IU10%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 263mg26%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.