Love and Olive Oil

Ube & Coconut Cream Pie

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This deliciously stunning pie features an ube and coconut cream filling in a chocolate cookie crust, and is topped with fresh whipped cream and Halloween sprinkles for a fun and festive presentation!

Have you ever seen a purple pie? The unusual color and mesmerizing flavor of this ube & coconut cream pie will please your palate and tantalize your tastebuds, while your eyes devour the beautiful violet hue.

Ube and Coconut Cream Pie

If you know me at all, you know that I love playing with unexpected colors in food. So it should come as no surprise that I’ve been suffering from a mild case of obsession with purple sweet potatoes, ever since I found some in the store last fall. I simply adore their vibrant natural color, and proceeded to try and make purple versions of traditional orange sweet potato recipes.

As it turns out, the two aren’t exactly interchangeable. It took me about 3 batches of gnocchi and about 4 pies before I finally realized that. The purple sweet potatoes I was using, called Stokes sweet potatoes and developed in the USA, have a much drier, starchier texture than orange sweet potatoes. This extra starchiness was problematic, especially when it came to the pie: I simply couldn’t achieve that silky smooth custard filling I was going for (rather, it felt like I’d just eaten a spoonful of wallpaper paste). Same for the gnocchi, the extra starch just resulted in a gummy, pasty texture that was less than ideal.

They were very pretty, no argument there, but they just weren’t very good (looks aren’t everything, you know).

Ube and Coconut Cream Pie

Thanksgiving came and went and I ultimately gave up my pursuit of a purple pie, tabling the idea for the next year (I decided that a purple pie would be more suitable for Halloween, anyway – bring one of these to Thanksgiving dinner and you’ll probably get a few questioning looks).

Now a year has come and gone and I’m still thinking about this purple pie. Clearly I had to try a different approach. After further research I realized that not all purple sweet potatoes are the same (as I had mistakenly assumed); rather, there are three distinct kinds of violet tubers throughout the world: Stokes purple sweet potatoes from the US, Okinawan purple sweet potatoes from Japan, and ube. All three are quite different in taste and texture and really aren’t interchangeable.

But the more I researched it, the more ube stood out to me as the best candidate for my purple pie. This purple yam from Southeast Asia is a bit sweeter and less starchy than the Stokes potatoes, and often used for flavoring dessert pastries and ice cream. Sounds perfect, right? Now I just needed to find some.

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