My recipe features warm pandesal with that signature toasted crust and fluffy interior, plus the flavor and famous purple hue of ube. When you tear these freshly baked buns open, rich melted cheese comes out along with a sticky and sweet ube jam filling that ties all the flavors together. This is a wonderful and highly addictive Filipino snack (a.k.a. merienda) or breakfast treat. Be careful, they’ll be gone before you even know it!
What is ube and how does it taste?
Ube is a variety of yam with a distinct violet-purple color. It’s grown all over Southeast Asia but is most popular for its use in Filipino cuisine. It’s mildly sweet and a little nutty with a hint of almost vanilla or coconut-like flavor.
In the Philippines, ube is most commonly served in desserts, especially as ube halaya: a dense, sticky jam made of ube mixed with milk, condensed milk, and sugar. I’ll be showing you my ube halaya recipe soon so you may want to keep an eye out for that!
What is ube cheese pandesal?
Lately, ube cheese pandesal has been dominating social media – and with good reason!
Pandesal is a Filipino bread bun that’s usually eaten for breakfast or as a snack. It’s especially wonderful when it’s warm and freshly made, as the crust has a slight crispness and the inside has a wonderfully light and fluffy texture.
And the cheese? The idea of sweet yam jam and cheese together may not sound that appealing at first, but it’s the balance of milky sweet and milky salty that makes this pairing such a winner! In the Philippines, ube and cheese are actually popular ice cream flavors. Ube jam and slices of cheese are also eaten together, sandwiched between pandesal as an afternoon snack.
Where can I find ube?
You can sometimes find fresh purple yam or ube powder in the Asian market. You can also purchase ube powder online. I’m lucky enough to know a Filipina close by who specializes in growing delicious ube. If you know any local growers in your area, I highly suggest talking to them
How to make ube cheese pandesal?
I purchase 20-30 lbs. of ube when it’s in season. I then boil it, grate it, de-hydrate it, and pulverize it using my spice grinder. It’s a long process but this way, I have ube powder that I can use for the rest of the year!
You’ll also notice that my ube pandesal doesn’t have the same super vibrant purple color as other recipes; this is because I choose not to use any food coloring. However this is just my personal choice, feel free to add some coloring if you want to achieve a more intense purple color.
My secret to making these buns extra moist and soft is the roux. To make it, you cook ½ cup of whole milk and 20g of bread flour into a paste. It adds the moisture of the milk into the dough without making it “wet”. It’s a simple 5-minute trick that makes all the difference!
Well, enough talking. Let’s get into this highly addictive Ube Cheese Pandesal with Halaya recipe!
Ube Queso Pandesal with Halaya Recipe | Filipino Ube Bread with Cheese and Purple Yam Jam Filling
- 20 Grams Bread Flour
- 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
- 320 Grams Bread Flour
- 1/4 Cup Ube Powder
- 4 TBSP Softened Butter
- 1 Egg
- 4 TBSP Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk If you don’t have Evaporated Milk just use ½ cup of Whole Milk
- 1 Pack Instant Rise Yeast
- 1 Cup Ube Halaya
- 16 Small cubes of Cheese
- Bread Crumbs
- Take 20 grams of bread flour and combine it with ½ cup of whole milk. Cook over medium / medium-low heat to create a paste. This should take only a few minutes. Set aside.
- Combine Bread Flour with Instant Rise Yeast, Kosher Salt, Sugar.
- Whisk the Roux paste with 1 Egg and ½ cup of Evaporated Milk and ¼ cup of Ube Powder.
- Now add the Roux mixture to the bread flour.
- Combine all these ingredients in Standing Mixer at low speed.
- Once all ingredients are well combined, add the softened Butter a little bit at a time.
- Once the butter is well integrated, raise the standing mixer’s speed to level 4.
- You need to mix the dough for approximately 8 minutes at speed level 4.
- To check if your dough is ready, do the stretch test. If the dough stretches but does not tear, then it is ready.
- Put the dough into a pre-greased bowl, cover with kitchen towel, put in the oven with LIGHTS ON and let it rest for 60 minutes.
- After 60 minutes, “punch” the dough to release as much of the air bubbles as possible. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Then divide each piece into 4 parts again. You should end up with 16 pieces of dough.
- Flatten each dough piece down and add Ube Halaya and Cheese in the center and form into a nice round shape.
- Once all buns are filled and shaped, roll them in breadcrumbs and give them a nice coating.
- Place them in your pre-greased bakeware, cover with kitchen towel and put them back in the oven with lights on for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, take the buns out of the oven. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.