Caribbean Sidesweet potato pudding

Sweet Potato Pudding
(Serves 8)

A sweet, nutty dish of mashed sweet potatoes—it's popular in the Caribbeans as both a vegetable side dish and a dessert.

1/2 C pecans (chopped coarsley)
4 good-sized yams or sweet potatoes (to get 4 C
3/4 C dark brown sugar
2 whole eggs plus 1 white (do not mix them together)
2 T butter
1/2 C coconut milk
1 lime (grated rind)
1 T lime juice
2 T sherry or rum
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Pecans: in a hot non-stick skillet, toast (or brown) the chopped pecans. Shake the pan gently so as not to burn the nuts. You'll know they're done when the let off their nutty fragrance. Set aside.

Yams: preheat oven to 350 F. Bbake the yams/sweet potatoes 1 hour or till you can poke them through easily with a fork. Don't turn off the oven.

Assembly: Discard the cooked yam skins and mash in a large bowl. Slowly add sugar, butter and 2 eggs plus egg white, one at a time, mixing well. Mix in remaining ingredients, including toasted pecans.

Bake: Turn pudding mixture into a good-sized, well-greased casserole dish and bake for 50-60 minutes.

| See more Caribbean recipes |

Tips & Glossary

Caribbean cuisine is an exquisite blend of African, Asian, European, and Carib Indian (the area's original inhabitants) foods. Dishes are highly seasoned, either with a dry rub or marinade —or both. Below are some typical ingredients found in Caribbean food.

Callaloo: young leaves of either the taro root plant or amaranth used widely in Caribbean cooking. Spinach can be used as a substitute.

Spices: Allspice, bay leaves, black pepper, chives, chili peppers, cilantro, cinnamon, coconut, curry powder, escallion, garlic, ginger, lime, mace, nutmeg, onion, oregano, sugar, thyme, orange, tomato paste, vanilla, cayenne (red) pepper.

Jerk: Jamaican cooking method in which meat is rubbed, prior to grilling, with a blend of seasonings, often firey hot.

Jerk is also the name of the seasoning (from Spanish charqui, or dried meat). You can buy jerk in most grocery stores (even McCormick makes it), or can make and store your own.

• 1 T each—onion powder, garlic powder, dried chives, brown sugar; 2 tsp. each— (ground) allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon; 1 tsp. each—sage. thyme, salt, black pepper, cayenne (or more to taste). Mix thoroughly and store in a tightly covered jar.

There are thousands of versions; figure out what flavors you like most and add or subtract accordingly.

Typical meats: goat, pork, chicken, and some beef (though beef has tended to be expensive).

Fish: varieties that abound in surrounding waters, some familiar to us—grouper, cod, tilapia, blue marlin; others not so—200 species of jack, chip-chips (tiny clams), casadura (primitive armored catfish).

Native plant foods:
• ackee—peach-looking fruit with pulp like scrambled eggs
• annatto (achiote) seed
red coloring or flavoring agent w/ slightly sweet peppery taste.
• cassava root (taro root)
• malanaga root
• scotch bonnet peppers
• breadfruit—fruit used like a potato in salads, stews, even whipped.
• passion fruit

More familiar foods:
bananas and plantains, okra, yams, papaya, mangoes, coconut, yams, sweet potatoes, rice, beans, corn and cornmeal.


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