Filipino-American Thanksgiving (and ube pie!)
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
EDIT: Originally posted in 2018 (all original blog post dates were lost when I re-did my website)
My family have never been turkey people. Our Thanksgiving table always had Chinese ham as the centerpiece, along with tons of Filipino food. I think our only concession to "American" Thanksgiving food was mashed potatoes, 'cause who doesn't love them some buttery mash?
Now that I'm married and live in a decent-sized house (with tons of street parking, super important to Chicagoland people), I've started hosting the holidays at my place. My family is fairly small, and the in-laws who come over tend to stay on the 2nd floor where my mother-in-law lives, so it's relatively stress-free.
However, this blending of families necessitates a blending of cuisines; my idea of what's required holiday eating is very different from my husband's, who's Black. I think these shots of last year's Thanksgiving spread is a near-perfect snapshot of our families:
Ham, sweet potato casserole, ube crinkle cookies, roasted veggies, fried rice, lumpiang shanghai (Filipino egg rolls), pancit palabok (Filipino seafood noodles), macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes
Same as other picture, plus steamed white rice and chicken adobo
The only thing missing from these pictures is the banana pudding my husband made; it's his absolute favorite and he insists on making it every year (apparently I don't do it right).
This year's Thanksgiving was a little smaller, a little quieter. My dad's health hasn't been great, so he and my mom decided to stay home for Thanksgiving and just relax a bit. My dad's the one who rules the kitchen in the family, so without him, this year's Thanksgiving meal was sadly lacking in Filipino food. I really need to get his recipes and learn to cook Filipino food, because is it really a celebration without lumpia?
I had to put a Filipino spin on dessert, at least. I absolutely love sweet potato pie (better than pumpkin pie, I'll die on this hill), but I also love ube, a purple yam native to the Philippines and used in many of our desserts.
I'd already made an ube-macapuno pie with cream cheese crust (adapted from this recipe) for my friend's Pi Day birthday party and pie-baking contest (where I won 1st prize!), but I wanted to keep the pie a bit simpler so it was closer to what you'd expect in a sweet potato pie.
The pie I made for Thanksgiving wasn't quite as good as the one I made for my friend's birthday; as much as I wanted to adhere to tradition, I really missed the addition of coconut milk and macapuno string, so I'll include both as an option in the recipe below. Also, since my Thanksgiving party was much smaller than usual (my parents weren't there and neither were my cousin and his wife), I decided to take the lazy route and buy pre-made pastry for the pie crusts. Feel free to follow the recipe I linked to above if you'd like to try the cream cheese pie crust (so legit).
I can just see Lila, the protagonist of my Filipino cozy WIP, serving this pie at her aunt's restaurant for Thanksgiving ^^
I'm ridiculously proud of this trophy
Ube (Purple Yam) Pie Recipe!
Makes one 9 or 10-inch pie
One 9 or 10-inch pre-made pie crust (unbaked)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 stick of butter, softened (might increase to 1 stick next time)
2 cups mashed ube (I used frozen grated ube, thawed)
3/4 cup evaporated milk or coconut milk
1 tsp ube extract or vanilla extract
Optional: one jar of macapuno strings, drained and rinsed
Fast method: Blend all the filling ingredients (except for the macapuno) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Mix in the macapuno strings.
Alternative method: Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl, then add eggs. Once they're well-blended, add your milk and extract of choice as well as the ube.
Both methods: Line your pie plate with the pre-made crust and pour in the filling. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then cover the pie with foil and lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for another 30-45 minutes until the filling is lightly set and a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
Cool the pie completely before serving. May you always avoid soggy bottoms.
Happy eating! Let me know what your favorite ube desserts are, and I'd love to hear if you try my recipe!