Hopia Ube Dice is a type of Filipino Bakpia filled with purple yam called ube then shaped into dice, usually cooked in a lightly greased flat pan over stove top.
Hopia is one of the favourite snacks in the Philippines where traditionally it is made with flaky pastry filled with mashed and sweetened green or red beans. This pastry originated from the Chinese pastry called Bakpia which was introduced by the Fujianese immigrants around the turn of the twentieth century. Bakpia is usually made with meat fillings it was later modified to suit the local palate and the mung bean variety came into light, eventually it became the more popular version in the Philippines. I love this pastry and I grew up eating a lot of this, it is sold everywhere and its quite inexpensive, I still remember before the popular Filipino Chinese brands today like Eng Bee Tin and Polland there was this Tipas where it is sold in boxes of 10 pieces.
Many years later Eng Bee Tin different flavours was introduced by Eng Bee Tin like ube, pork floss, custard, durian, kundol, mango, pineapple and pandan which started around the 80’s. Hopia dice on the other hand started to show in the streets of Manila when I was in High School, so I am guessing this would have been invented around the late 80’s. Street vendors showcase their flat pan in front of their shops while cooking this cube shape hopia to lure passers-by with the scent and its drool worthy looks. Hopia dice made it easier for street vendors to start selling them, since they don’t need big budgets to buy oven since these are made using a flat pan and long spatulas to shape as it cooks.
I haven’t had this for a long while so I am making them at home, but instead of using mung beans I will fill it up with ube, specially nowadays where everyone makes an ube version of everything, I think it’s just timely. It’s a very easy recipe to make, in fact you do it with just two ingredients that you can easily buy, ube jam (in Filipino or Asian groceries) and readymade flaky pastry, and if you live in the Philippines I am not sure if flaky pastry can be bought in the supermarkets so I will post a recipe of it down below.
Sift flour in a bowl together with sugar. Place in a food processor.
Add butter and salt then pulse until mixture looks like small peas.
Gently pour egg as it is pulsed then continue to process until it is coarsely clumped together, do not over-process otherwise it will be tough.
Place mixture in a lightly floured workspace, sprinkle ice cold water 2 tbsp at a time then form into one big clump of dough by continously pressing the dough together, set it aside for 5 minutes.
Roll out the dough and flatten with a rolling pin, fold the dough then flatten it again, do this three times. Bring back dough and shape into a long log.
Get one small piece of dough, flatten and form into a circle, put a tablespoon of ube jam filling on top. Bring edges to the top, then seal by pressing. Do it with the remaining dough.
Place a non-stick pan over stove top over medium low heat, cook while pressing sides with a wide spatula to gently form it into a dice. Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Once all sides are crisp and light brown add a bit of butter into the pan then cook for a minute on each side while distributing the melted butter on all sides.