Up until recently, I have had a sheer and seemingly irrational hatred of the color purple. It is a color that many people of my acquaintance claim as their favorite, and several of these declare that it’s a color that makes me look good. Unfortunately, it is a color I detest to the very core of my being – for the basic reason that I associate it with a cousin for whom I bear the basest contempt. Plus, for all its regal connotations, purple is the Catholic liturgical color for suffering, death, and mourning.
Well, so I thought until a friend asked a colleague to send over a distinctly purple-hued dessert over to my hotel while I was in Iloilo!
My friend Chi had the lovely Ms. Louise Diana Luna, a native of the city, make her signature brazo de ube.
This is obviously a riff on the more common brazo de Mercedes, a soft roll of baked meringue filled with eggy custard. In this particular version, however, the custard is replaced with halayang ube, a thick, unctuous paste made with sweetened purple yam (ube). Even the meringue itself takes on a lavender tinge because of, I would surmise, the addition of either purple food coloring or powdered ube.
I was a bit iffy on it at first; seeing how I detest both the color purple and halayang ube (long story). But one bite and I was hooked: the creamy filling was none too sweet and went well with the fluffy, honeyed meringue. For all of its Grimace-hued looks, it was totally irresistible and I didn’t pass on seconds.
Incidentally, I shared the roll with my colleagues and it served as supper for the four of us at the end of a rather hectic convention day – and, aye: none of the others passed on seconds, as well! 😉
Now, if only there was a way to get this shipped to Manila on a regular basis!