petite violette


for my first dessert made for the new year, i wanted to make something special, something that might set the tone for how my baking goes for the rest of year-- something different, yet familiar, adventurous, but classic. the last time i was at bizu in manila, i had a pastry called violette, which was their take on the classic french dessert mont blanc aux marrons. instead of using marrons, or chestnuts, the bizu version used the local purple yam, or ube, on top of an almond flavoured shortcrust base and some pastry cream. i have to say, i was somewhat disappointed with their version, as it fell short of my expectations.

i did realize it was because i am not really a big fan of ube anyway. my grand aunt, apong iska, used to make ube jam, or halaya, that was simply a mix of the purple yam, sugar, cream and butter, but it was such a superior product, that it was the only ube i would eat. i was not the only person who thought it was very good--her halaya was the original tantamco's brand ube jam from baguio, and was highly regarded by many. when she died, the quality of all their products suffered, and i haven't really enjoyed halaya since then. time has passed, though, and my dad recently brought back a big jar of ube jam from baguio, made at the good shepherd convent (market man mentions it in his informative ube jam post). i took a tentative bite, and wasn't completely bowled over by it, but it was much better than most i'd tried in the passing years.

since i had such a big jar, i thought i would make my own version of the bizu dessert. i used miss chika's mont blanc instructions as a guide, but assembled it as follows: i blind-baked simple shortcrust tartlet shells (i used the dough from my pecan tartlet recipe), then piped in a generous amount of whipped cream flavoured with a touch of almond extract and folded into some of the halaya, then finally crowning the whole thing with squiggles of unadulterated halaya. i tried dusting them with some confectioner's sugar to emulate a white-capped mountain, but the sugar dissolved. i guess that like the mountains in the philippines, it's a little too warm for snow.


and that, is a picture that made me go wow...that's such a cool colour for dessert. i don't think i've ever made purple dessert. gimme some.

Formost used to make Ube ice cream that I liked a lot.

ah, they're so pretty! we have similar-looking purple mont-blanc cakes in Japan, but they're usually made with Okinawan purple-flesh sweet potatoes (or yams, I can't tell whichever). I don't think if I ever had ube or ube-product though... it actually doesn't sound VERY much of my taste, but I wouldn't mind your version of pretty purple mountains!

(sorry for double-posting, please delete the first one. Thanks!)

They are so beautiful!

I could eat several of those. When I have some time, I'm going to try to make halaya or look for some near me. I don't think I've ever tried it.

Wow was the word that I uttered the moment I feast my eyes on the photo!

Wow divine looking! I've never had halaya. Is it very sweet?

Look so beautiful.Lovely color and I have never seen a dessert that color.

the shells look great. love the colour. remember how i used the purple yam jam to fill the green tea cupcakes - for some reason i can only really enjoy it with cake now. tried it on toast and it just didnt work. perhaps i need to pair ir with laughing cow cheese :)

hi mumu! come to think of it, there are rather a lot of strange pastel colours in filipino food....

hi gia! they still do. you'll have to have some when you get back :D and then bring some powdered ube home so you can make some yourself.

hi chika! the ube is similar to the okinawan sweet potato, but i guess it really is a yam. it's a bit too starchy for me, but nice to have when i need an instant carb overload.

hi ollie! i'm sure you can find the powdered ube to make the halaya, or even the stuff in the jars already made. it's sweet, sticky, and starchy. i'm not sure how people normally eat it but i always see it with halo-halo, and sometimes with ice cream.

hi skyjuice! me too, when i saw the ones at the patisserie. the purple is such a vivid colour, and it just looked so unique.

hi cw! it's not overly sweet, but it is quite heavy and starchy. like candied yams. you only need a taste, really.

hi sailu--ube is a popular dessert ingredient in the philippines. you'll find it in candies, ice cream, cakes, and pies--you should the vivid array of purples they come in!

hi saffron! yeah, i can't eat it just on toast. it seems to need a sweet complement to it, otherwise it's just starch on starch. but sweet starch on sweet starch seems to make a big difference :)

It does look like a purple version of the Banaue rice terraces.
I have a big jar of ube from good shepherd at home, I may just use your recipe to make some ube frosting for something sweet.

hiya mila, clever woman. perhaps i should change the name to something more befitting....terrasse du riz? terrasse violette? escalier au ciel?

i liked the ube whipped cream a lot. i was thinking of using it as a frosting for something as well. let me know what you end up making!

Wow! It's so pretty... I've been reading your blog for a while now and it's my first time to comment. Again, it's just so pretty. It prolly tastes as good as it looks. Makes me think of that ube milkshake I wanted to try.

hi ana! thanks for taking the time to comment. and congratulations on starting your new blog! i hope to hear from you again.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw this picture: What a sweet, sweet pic! Awww!

They're so dainty!

They look great, Santos. I just love that purple ube color!

Those look amazing! What a colour and shape. I have kept an eye on your blog for a while, and I have to say, your pictures are amazing! I made a link to my blog to remember to come back very often, for more great food inspiration, for the eyes.

Thank you

Even if you were disappointed, these look absolutely beautiful and do indeed remind me of all the maron desserts in Japan. Great job Santos!

hi toni! aren't they sweet? if you don't have a small pastry tip, you can just snip off the end of a plastic bag. if you cut the tip big enough, you could create a gorgeous rosette on top.

hi nic! you should see the interiors--a beautiful shade of pale lilac speckled with dark purple.

hello bea! thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and for the link. i'll be sure to visit your beautiful blog often!

hi tokyoastrogirl! i've always loved the way the mont blanc looks--a bit crazy, but in a very controlled way. i relate to that :)

ooo, these are so pretty it's making me want to go ube hunting this weekend :-) A trip to the Filipino market is long overdue anyway. I love the idea of making it this way. I was already thinking of making halaya anyway, this may be next ;-) Thanks, Santos!

hi jmom! happy new year to you and your family! if you don't have a pastry tip, just put the halaya in a plastic bag and snip off a corner. you won't get the small squiggles, but you'll get nice big squiggles you can make rosette designs with or the girls can come up with something funky!


I am so blown away by the color! Very pretty and eye catching. The ube whip cream sounds really good. :)

So instead of Mt. Blanc, this is Mt. Pinatubo? :-D

P.S. My blog has a new URL: www.desertmodernism.com/blog

HI Santos! One of the Swiss dessert I love is the vermicelles aux maroons (mont blanc aux maroons) My Swiss Aunt in Law makes perfect maroon puree and serve with meringue.
Never have thought ube would look so divine (maybe it tasted good too)

Oh IKEA sells this press for the maronni. But we got ours from Switzerland.

BTW I changed link

i tried dusting them with some confectioner's sugar to emulate a white-capped mountain, but the sugar dissolved. i guess that like the mountains in the philippines, it's a little too warm for snow.

hahaha thats really cool but why not a bit of whipped cream...

evp? extra virgin prince? :P haaaaa. love the new url and the look of the blog!

hi sha! i'll change the link, thanks for letting me know. i didn't want to top it with whipped cream, because the interior incorporates whipped cream, and i didn't want to add any more as i wanted to keep a distinction (however small) between the two layers. also, i didn't think it would look as nice.

hi milgwimper! sorry i missed you there. the ube whipped cream was good enough to try in other recipes :)

hi santos, that's totally surreal, and all the more beautiful for it...i also love your choice of plate with squiggles for tart with squiggles ;)

hi j! imagine if i decided to use black sesame--they might disappear into the pattern.

ooh. black sesame. that would be sort of nice, would it....

they look utterly delectable. can't wait to see what you have lined up in the oven for the rest of the year!

Hi S,

Cool looking ube tartlett. I feel like making something like it using Okinawan sweet potato. I'm not really a fan of ube myself except as ice cream with halo halo! =P

BTW...I received the book yesterday! Thanks a lot! I'm not sure if I have it already and I'm going to look through the stack I have here.

I really appreciate the thought! =) When are you going to LA? I might not be able to go until March now? =(

hi maria! me too :D

hi reid! yeah, i was an ube-free zone for a long time.

i don't know when i'm going to la now, either--probably more like june :P ugh. heat.

I first saw this picture on Flickr and I thought it was beautiful. Ube is a great color isn't it - and your dessert shows it off fantastically!

I love your site!

i love the colour of ube in cream form. ube ice cream mochi is definitely one of my weak spots.

your photos are beautiful.

i wanted to let you know i joined the "asianwomeneat" page. you can come visit me here: www.xanga.com/downtown_gypsy
however, this site was initially derived from my personal journal turned food blog, so not exactly a straight up food blog. but i'm soon going to start my own... all food.

hmm, black sesame might just turn out to be trompe l'oeil on a plate - how's that for food art ;)


Santos, what a lovely little dessert! Love the color. My cousin is obsessed with Mont-Blancs, I'm going to send her your link...

I like blogs on food :))
And these look yummmmmyyy! And violet is also my favourite colour...
You have a very nice blog!
Greetings from Portugal (maybe you can at least enjoy the music I have on mine...).

hi anita! thank you for coming by and taking the time to comment--hope to hear from you again soon!

hi peggy--thanks for letting me know, i'll add your site shortly!

hi j--i wonder what i could use as a "carrier" for the black sesame. would chestnut compete too much? what would i need to do to get it to the right consistency for good noodling? hmmm. something to work on!

hi kat! it's like a crazy play-dough thing, isn't it?

hi viv! it's funny, i don't ever see mont blancs in the us, yet it's rather popular in europe and asia....maybe it's the chestnut thing. i think they are so striking, though, i don't blame your sister for being obsessed!

hello titania! muito obrigado for stopping by! i shall visit your blog soon!

Hi Santos,

I will surely come back to visit - you have a very nice site! I also saw your "Asianwomeneat" page and was wondering if you could add mine? I would love to be on the list!

Thanks so much!

hi anita! i'll add your blog asap :)