In spite of what my spellchecker says, you can't spell blUBErry without Ube.
And ever since my Purple Ube Pancakes post, I've been wanting to pair Ube and blueberries in an ice cream (blueberry pancakes + Ube pancakes = blUBErry ice cream, my mind works in strange ways). I knew the tart sweetness of blueberries would pair well with sweet purple yam, I just didn't know how I was going to pull it off. I had never made Ube ice cream, a favorite among Filipinos, so I knew I had to start there and worry about the blueberries later.
But, as I would discover, churning out a batch of Ube ice cream would be more difficult than just dumping a cup of frozen Ube into a vanilla base (under no circumstances should you try that, you will curse the heavens and everything around you. Damn you frozen purple yam! Damn you straight to hell!!!).
Ahem. Uh, after two hacks at creating terribly icy and gritty ice creams, I think I hit one out of the park on my third try. A couple pounds of Ube, a few quarts of cream, and a couple hundred curse words later, I was able to figure out three tricks for churning rich and smooth Ube Ice Cream. And lucky you, dear reader, I'm going to share them with you here.
Ube Ice Cream Tip #1:
For my Ube Ice Cream, I used frozen grated purple yam that I found at my local Asian market. After thawing out the Ube, I placed it in a couple layers of paper towels, balled it up and squeezed as much liquid out as I could. As you can see in the picture above, there is quite a lot of water in the unfrozen Ube. If you skip the step of wringing out your Ube, you will indeed be sorry and end up with icy and hard-as-a-brick ice cream--which is pretty useless stuff unless you want to build a purple igloo.
Ube Ice Cream Tip #2:
Another trick I learned is to steam the Ube after the thawing and squeezing steps. If you leave the Ube uncooked, it will become gritty when it is frozen in the ice cream. And believe me, gritty ice cream is no fun. So after you have thawed out your Ube and squeezed every ounce of liquid from it, place it in a steamer for a few minutes. After the Ube becomes soft, place it in a bowl and mash it with a wooden spoon, or whatever mashing implement you have at hand.
Ube Ice Cream Tip #3:
Buy David Lebovitz's ice cream book, The Perfect Scoop. No, there is no Ube Ice Cream recipe in The Perfect Scoop (things would have been much easier for me if there was), but there is plenty of sound ice cream making advice that would be of benefit to any and everyone that eats ice cream. And on top of that, the recipes in the book look absolutely wonderful.
Now, although there is no Ube recipe in David's book, I did use his Vanilla Ice Cream recipe as a guideline for my Ube Ice Cream--changing a couple of things here and there to better suit my tastes. The Ube Ice Cream I finally concocted is wonderful on its own. Or, for another Filipino variation, you could stir in some macapuno (coconut strings). But I was very happy with the blueberry variation. And I did use David Lebovitz's recipe for Blueberry Sauce to swirl into my Ube Ice cream.
Mmmm. Ube and blueberries. Together at last.
blUBErry Ice Cream (Ube Ice Cream Swirled with Blueberry Sauce)
Yield: About 1 quart
1 cup frozen grated Ube, thawed
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
Blueberry sauce, recipe follows
Place the thawed Ube on a couple layers of paper towels and squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the Ube. Line a steamer with foil, being careful to not block all of the steamer holes. Place the Ube onto the foil and spread the Ube into a thin layer. Steam the Ube over low heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the Ube from the steamer and place the Ube in a small bowl. Mash the Ube with a wooden spoon and set aside.
Combine the half-and-half, heavy cream, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat the cream mixture until it just begins to simmer, then remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Temper the eggs by slowly adding, one ladle at a time, the warm cream mixture to the eggs, whisking continuously. When about a third of the cream mixture has been added to the eggs, pour the warmed egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the cream. Continue to cook and whisk over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer. If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, cook the mixture until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. (You can test for doneness by running your finger across the coated spoon. If your finger leaves a trail on the spoon, then the custard is done. If the trail flows back together, continue to cook the custard until it thickens some more.)
Pour the warmed custard into a large bowl through a fine mesh sieve. Add the Ube to the custard mixture and stir with a whisk to break up any clumps of Ube. Place the bowl of custard in an ice bath and cool. After the custard has cooled, cover and place in the refrigerator over night.
Pour the cold custard mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. After the ice cream is finished, place a layer into a container, followed by a layer of blueberry sauce (recipe to follow), followed by a layer of ice cream and so on.
Place the layered ice cream in the freezer until it hardens, at least 4 hours.
(from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz)
2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons kirsch
In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, heat the blueberries and sugar until the blueberries burst and release their juice. Combine the cornstarch, water, and lemon juice and mix until smooth. Add cornstarch slurry to the blueberries.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the kirsch. Cool blueberry sauce to room temperature and then place in refrigerator.