Everyone in my family knows I love Ube in any shape or form – ice cream, cake, jam, as filling in pastries etc. Ube is Tagalog for purple yam. It should not be confused with purple sweet potato which you can readily find in most Asian stores. The texture and taste of both is totally different. You can get Ube in most Filipino or Asian stores here in North America. It is sold in frozen packs already grated.
I have been seeing a lot of Ube cheesecake photos in the web and was inspired to make one. I did have to look for the perfect recipe but most often it calls for the use of ube flavoring and not real ube. After reading and comparing various recipes I came up with my own.
For this recipe I first have to make Ube Halaya (Jam) which is the base flavor of this cheesecake. You will need 1 pack ube, 1 can condensed milk and 1 can coconut cream. First, defrost your ube and pass this through a sieve to remove any fibrous meat. Then combine all three ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat until the mixture becomes thick and dark purple in color. This can take around 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a container and let cool. I did not use any Ube flavor extract as what is commonly used in most recipes I see on the web. The ingredients listed on it are not natural and is mostly food coloring.
For the crust: Prepare your springform pan by wrapping the bottom and edges with three layers of heavy duty foil. Then crush 1 packet of graham crackers and to this add 3 tbsp melted butter and 1 tbsp sugar. Mix everything to combine and press this firmly on the bottom of your springform pan. I used 3 mini ones. Bake this in a 350F oven for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool.
Lower your oven temperature to 325F and prepare your filling.
In a mixing bowl beat 2 8 oz package of cream cheese (room temperature) using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Then add 2/3 cup sugar and beat until combined. Add 2 eggs one at a time then 2 cups of Ube Halaya. Beat until everything is well incorporated. Pour mixture in your prepared pans and smooth the top. Place your pans inside a roasting pan or any high-sided pan. Place inside the oven, then carefully pour hot water in your roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the side of your springform pan. Bake this for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Then turn off your oven and crack open your oven door to about 1 inch and let cake cool inside oven. Take your cheesecake pan out of the oven and cover loosely with foil and chill inside the fridge for 4 hours minimum to overnight.
P.S. I experimented and I made a layered Ube cheesecake. I poured plain cheesecake at the bottom of the prepared pan then added the ube flavored cheesecake on top.
Serve with whipped cream on top.