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Ube Pies (Purple Yam or Purple Sweet Potato Pies)

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Ube [ooh-beh] is purple yam, which should not be confused with purple potatoes or with purple sweet potatoes. Purple yam is not uniquely found in the Philippines but Filipinos by far use it more than anyone else to flavor and color their sweet treats and breads including this delicious Ube Pie recipe!

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Ingredients

  • CORNMEAL PIE CRUST:
  • 1 1/2 pounds purple sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chilled lard or vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
  • For the Cornmeal Pie Crust, makes one 9-inch or 10-inch double crust
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chilled lard or vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons ice water

Details

Servings 10
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 95mins

Preparation

Step 1

Boil the sweet potatoes until tender. Let them cool then peel and cut into small cubes. One and a half pounds of sweet potatoes will yield around 1 pound or roughly 3 cups cubed cooked sweet potatoes.

Grind the cubed boiled sweet potatoes in a food processor. Add the coconut milk, condensed milk, and melted butter and mix well. My mom uses either coconut milk or evaporated milk but she says whole milk can be used as well. Adjust the sweetness by adding more or using less condensed milk.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

PIE CRUST:

Roll the dough like you would when making a crust for a 9-inch pie. Cut 5-1/2- to 6-inch diameter circles using a paring knife and parchment paper (or a plastic container lid) as a guide. This size will give your baby pies a pretty little overhang on top.

Cutting the Crust for Baby Pies.

Transfer the cut dough carefully into the pockets of a regular 12-cup muffin pan and press it firmly. Pour 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the purple sweet potato puree on top of the crust.

Bake the baby pies for 45 to 55 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Cool completely.

To add some crunch, sprinkle crushed walnuts on top. Alternatively, top these baby pies with strands of delicious macapuno or sweetened young coconut, which is traditionally paired with ube jam.

PIE CRUST DOUGH:

Sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. Mix the chilled shortening and butter.

Cut half of the shortening mixture into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or work it in lightly with the tips of your fingers until it has the consistency of cornmeal. Work it in lightly and do not overwork the dough because it will become dense and greasy. Cut the second half of the shortening mixture into the dough until it is pea-sized. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use a fork. Leave it in firm, separate pieces, some fine and crumb like and the rest the size of peas.

Sprinkle the dough with ice water. Blend the water gently into the dough until it just holds together. You may lift the ingredients with a fork, allowing the moisture to spread. If necessary add another teaspoon to a tablespoon of ice water to hold the ingredients together. It is important to add only enough water to make the dough hold together but be careful not to put so much as to cause excessive gluten to develop, which would make the pie crust hard or chewy and bread like. As a rule of thumb, the flour and fat mixture should be moistened only to the point where it forms small balls that hold together when pressed with your fingers.

Divide the dough in half, shape each into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap. and refrigerate. Chilling the dough up to 12 hours tenderizes it, helps keep it from shrinking during baking, and makes it easier to handle. If the dough has been chilled longer than 30 minutes, let it stand until it feels firm yet pliable, like modeling clay, when pressed. If it is too cold, the dough will crack around the edges when rolled.

Rolling the Dough.

Roll the dough on a pastry cloth, pastry board, marble slab or on clean smooth countertop away from anything hot in your kitchen to avoid melting the fat. If the dough becomes too soft while rolling, loosen it from the work surface, slide a rimless cookie sheet beneath it, and refrigerate until it firms up.

Lightly flour the work surface and the dough. Roll the dough from the center out in all directions, stopping just short of the edge.

Check to make sure that the dough does not stick to the surface by sliding your hand beneath it. Scatter a little more flour on the work surface if it becomes too sticky. Rolling dough is like modeling clay. Seal cracks and splits by pushing the dough together with your fingers. Patch any holes, tears, or thin spots with dough scraps. Moisten one side with cold water and then firmly press them into place, with the moistened side down.

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