Last week I showed you how to make Ube Halaya, also known as purple yam jam, and this week I’m going to share a truly magical way to use it. Breakfast, brunch, a late night snack…there’s really no time that a person would turn down Ube Pancakes. From the beautiful deep violet color to the dreamy condensed milk poured over the top, these aren’t your ordinary pancakes. Kids love them, and so do adults, so let’s get into it!
Is it a little pretentious to call these Tres Leches Ube Pancakes? Maybe it sounds too sweet? Well that was the name I considered calling these plush little beauties because they do use three different types of milk. But they’re not anywhere close to the sweetness you find in the indulgent super soaked dessert. Instead they’re an Asian level of sweetness, just perfect as a special breakfast treat.
Ube Pancakes Batter
The base of this ube pancake is the ube halaya. If you’ve never had it, it’s like a creamy sweet potato mash flavored with vanilla and a hint of coconut. It’s awesome and easy, so I highly encourage you to make it. You can also find it at Asian markets in jars on the shelf. If finding or making ube halaya seems out of reach, you can substitute sweet potatoes. Any mashed sweet potatoes (a good use for leftovers) can be used.
Mixing up the ube pancake batter isn’t much different than making regular batter aside from adding the ube halaya. I start by mixing the wet ingredients together. This first step helps loosen up the base and will keep you from over-mixing the flour later.
Ube extract is totally optional, but I like both the deep purple color it adds as well as the flavor.
Once the wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed, I add in the dry. Use a gentle hand when mixing. A few small clumps of flour are fine.
Cooking Ube Pancakes
Cooking the ube pancakes is very straightforward. I start by heating a nonstick skillet and adding the oil. I use paper towels to blot and wipe down the pan; I don’t want puddles of oil. In fact, I learned from Cooks Illustrated many moons ago that a mostly dry pan will give you the most evenly browned pancakes. So make sure you leave just a bare coating of oil. Then save the oily paper towel to wipe the pan between batches.
Then flip the pancakes over and cook on the other side for another couple minutes. Transfer them to a plate and repeat with the rest of the ube pancake batter. Because there is some sugar in the pancake batter, these pancakes will brown deeper than traditional pancakes. If you find the first batch too dark for your liking, simply lower the heat a bit on subsequent batches. Personally, I like the toasty caramel-like flavor that comes from the well browned pancakes.
Serving Ube Pancakes
These ube pancakes are incredibly delicious with the classic butter and maple syrup pairing. But of course, I like to add a little razzle dazzle. A drizzle of luscious condensed milk takes these to another level. Condensed milk features prominently as a sweetener and ingredient in many Asian sweets because it is shelf stable, not requiring refrigeration. So it is very common in the Philippines and my husband fondly remembers his siblings slathering it on toast, much like jam or nutella.
Lastly, it does indeed remind me of a Miami favorite, tres leches cake, the Latin inspired sponge cake soaked in different milks. It’s a cultural mashup that really works!
Whip up these Ube Pancakes this weekend and see for yourself! And let us know what you think, we love hearing from you! You can leave a comment here, or tag us @funkyasiankitchen.Print
- 1 cup prepared ube halaya*
- 2 large eggs
- 4 ounces evaporated milk (or any kind of milk you like)
- ¾ cup all purpose flour (3.25 ounces)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ube extract (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon neutral oil (for the pan)
- Butter and condensed milk or maple syrup for serving
- Put the ube halaya, eggs, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the ube extract and whisk again to combine.
- Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, and salt on top of the ube. Stir gently until just combined. It is fine to have some small lumps but do not overmix.
- Set a large 12” non-stick skillet over medium heat for several minutes. Add a tablespoon of oil and use a paper towel to wipe the oil around the pan (you don’t want any pools of oil left. The pan should be dry.) Keep the paper towel to oil the pan between batches.
- Lower the heat to medium low and drop ⅓ cup portions of batter onto the skillet, making sure to leave enough room to allow the batter to spread. Cook the pancakes for 2-3 minutes until bubbles start to form on the top and the edges of the pancake look dry.
- Flip the pancakes over and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer the pancakes to a plate. (You can also keep the pancakes warm in the oven if you are making a lot of them. Preheat the oven to 250 and keep the pancakes on a baking tray covered with foil.)
- Use the oiled paper towel to wipe the surface of the pan and continue making batches of pancakes until the batter is finished. You should yield about 8 pancakes.
- Serve the ube pancakes with a pat of butter and condensed milk or maple syrup on the side.
*You can refrigerate or freeze any uneaten pancakes. Microwave for a minute or two covered with a damp paper towel to heat before serving.
Keywords: ube, ube halaya, sweets, breakfast, snacks, pancakes,