Ube Banana Pudding



We are celebrating Mother's Day this year with these lovely Ube Banana Puddings. This recipe takes Magnolia Bakery's famous banana pudding and gives it a tropical twist by incorporating ube, adding a gorgeous color and subtle flavor to this iconic dessert.

Ube banana pudding

The original recipe can be found in The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook and is one of the most popular items on the menu. Surprisingly, on my many trips to New York, I never visited one of the bakery's locations and have only had the homemade version - and it's delicious!

The idea for this recipe came about when I found ube sweetened condensed milk at a local market. As with other Asian and Southeast Asian cultures, there is a lot of Filipino influence on local Hawaii cuisine. Ube is one of those ingredients that is found in more and more dishes, desserts in particular.

Ube banana pudding

What is ube?

Ube is often confused with purple sweet potato. It is, in fact, a purple yam, not a sweet potato. And unlike sweet potato which grows underground, ube grows on a vine. Many describe the flavor is being very similar to sweet potatoes but with light vanilla overtones.

In Hawaii, it's rare to find fresh ube. Instead, we find it in the form of an extract that can be added to any number of dishes. At restaurants you can find ube tarts, ube ice cream, ube pancakes, and even ube pasta. It's popular not only for its flavor but for its brilliant, deeply purple color.

Ube banana pudding

A simple recipe but plan ahead

This banana pudding recipe couldn't be easier and requires no cooking at all. However, a significant amount of cooling time is needed - a minimum of 8 hours in the refrigerator - so plan accordingly. My recommendation is to make the pudding the night before and allow it to cool in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, incorporate the whipped cream and assemble the puddings, allowing them to cool throughout the day, serving them in the evening.

Ube banana pudding

What if I can't find ube sweetened condensed milk?

If you can't find ube sweetened condensed milk, you can use a regular sweetened condensed milk as written in the original recipe. If you want the beautiful purple color, add a few drops of food coloring until you find a shade you like.

Another option is to use coconut sweetened condensed milk for a different tropical take on the classic banana pudding.


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