Looking back, sweet potato has always been a staple food in the Caribbean cuisine. From breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, the recipes are endless. Surprisingly I only remember eating sweet potatoes boiled, fried and in dessert form.
Sweet potato pudding is commonly served during the holidays in the Caribbean. There are many versions and each of them very unique in taste.
Pain Patate, Sweet Potato Pudding or Sweet Potato Bread, is the same everywhere in the Caribbean. As a favorite dessert during the holidays, Sweet Potato is also prepared on special occasions such as cultural and religious feasts, parties etc…
The white-fleshed sweet potato is the most common variety found in the Caribbean. The skin has a pink to purple color and can easily bruise. Sweet potato is known as batata, white yam, and camote. It is also known as other names depending on the island or country.
Making sweet potato can be a quick or lengthy process. The short and quick version is made with coconut milk, sweet potato, sugar, and spices. The long version is prepared with freshly grated coconut and all of the above ingredients are also added.
Most recipes will include raisins. They are either soaked in rum or not soaked. For example, in Haiti, Sweet Potato Pudding or Pain Patate is prepared with coconut milk, grated coconut, raisins, spices, extract, and rum. Soaking the raisins is not part of the process.
The Jamaican version of sweet potato pudding includes soaking the raisins in rum for a few hours. My updated version does contain rum soaked raisins. We (islanders) are big fans of rum. (Shhhh….) My preferred choice of rum is the Haitian Rum Barbancourt. It is my preferred choice because of taste and aroma. I think it is bolder and more flavorful.
I remember many moons ago when my late dad used to make the Haitian version of Sweet Potato Pudding, the comical disputes between him and my mom would be endless. Whenever my dad was in the kitchen making Pain Patate or Sweet Potato Pudding, it always seems that he had to use every single pots and pan. My late mom used to get so upset at my dad and we could only laugh at their conversations.
Caribbean parents arguments involving a kitchen are usually very comical. Their logic is somewhat confusing at times because they would reflect on old technology and new technology. And their sense of time is always off. LOL.. I sure do like to reminisce about the old days.
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In the Caribbean, sweet potatoes are usually consumed in soup, stews, roasted, baked, pureed, boiled and fried. It is the perfect side dish to serve with a meatless stew or a meat and vegetables stew.
With its sweet taste and potato-like texture, a dessert such as sweet potato pudding deserves to have all the right spices. I am referring to spices such as ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. These last three ingredients are religiously used in many of our baked goods.
The texture of my version or Sweet Potato Pudding is slightly different. I coarsely grated the sweet potatoes to create a bit of a crunch.
Try my version today and please share your comments.