Purple Yam (Ube) Swirl Ice Cream

I'm digging the pastels this time of year. How can you escape them when Easter brings out the soft colors of the season? Even though it may be a little early for ice cream, I figured getting a head start before the summer wouldn't hurt... and even better is one that captures some of the pastel color I'm seeing these days. This Purple Yam (Ube) Swirl Ice Cream is not only colorful, it's a little unique and exotic with an interesting ingredient...

Yam? Purple Yam? In ice cream?! Yes... and it works! In Filipino cuisine, purple yam or ube is a common and popular dessert ingredient. You can find it used to flavor cakes, cookies, breads, pastries and of course, ice cream. Ube can be used in different forms - powder, grated, paste, etc - but in this recipe, I used frozen ube which was thawed before whisking into a warmed custard. It's a bit time consuming because essentially you're churning 2 separate ice creams and then swirling them before freezing. But it's definitely worth it.

Purple Yam (Ube) Swirl Ice Cream
recipe adapted from David Lebovitz

1 cup milk
a pinch of salt
3/4 cups sugar
5 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup frozen ube, thawed completely*

*You can find ube in a Philippine/Filipino market

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan until warmed through but not boiling.

Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk to temper the egg yolks, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

Strain half of the custard through a sieve into a bowl filled with 1 cup of heavy cream; set aside.

Add the yam to the remaining custard and whisk to incorporate well. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl willed with the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream.

Chill both bowls thoroughly for at least 1-2 hours.

Remove the bowls from the fridge. Pour the yam mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturers instructions. When done, set aside. Repeat the process with the vanilla mixture and churn according to the manufacturers instructions.

Transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container, alternating the churned ice cream into the container. Cover and freezer overnight.


  1. I'm in Chicago also, what market did you get your Ube at?

  2. Hi Lugo! I picked it up at Uni-mart & they have it available at all their city & suburban locations.

  3. Was that the natural color of your frozen ube or did you add food coloring pa?

  4. @Jean Claude - I added a few drops of violet food coloring so the color pops. But adding coloring is optional... if no coloring is added, the purple hue is much more muted.