Ube is bae, so to say. At first glance, it may look similar to the other purple starch, taro. But as Real Simple clarifies, ube is a purple root from the Philippines. In fact, the name ube translates to tuber in Tagalog. The biggest difference between the two is that taro is more often used in savory dishes, while ube is usually for sweets because of its slightly nutty and vanilla flavor. While many traditional Filipino desserts feature ube, it has recently taken to the global social media scene. All over Instagram, ube can be found shapeshifting from ice cream to mochi doughnuts and, of course, macarons.
While ube macarons have not made it to the macaron mainstream yet, there are still plenty of wonderful recipes for those who are curious and hungry. Food scientist Catherine Zhang’s blog offers a particularly promising recipe. She suggests not overwhelming the already strong and creamy ube flavor, and to opt for a lighter buttercream filling in lieu of anything heavy or overwhelming.
There’s no need to do more than necessary, and the recipe opts for an ube halaya (or jam) to flavor the macaron. If that’s not available, seek out ube extract and pair it with icing sugar instead. Given ube’s current rise in popularity and the macaron’s general adaptabilty, it probably won’t take long before ube macs are for the taking in different bakeries.