Pain Patate or Sweet Potato Bread is a dish I seldom make because it requires time and patience. I say time because it is not a recipe that you can whip up in a jiffy. And as far as patience, you seriously need it if you want to make it the old fashion way which is to grate the coconut and the sweet potatoes. Thank heaven for food processors!
Pain Patate is one of the most popular Haitian desserts. I am not sure when it was originated, but I bet it is one of the main recipes passed down from generations to generations. When my father was alive, he would make this dessert a lot for us, friends and family. I always say that only people from the old school enjoy making things the old fashion way. My generation and newcomers are so spoiled that we will try anything to make life easier. There is nothing wrong with that, and I am sure many people will agree with me as well.
Type of potatoes to use
Two main ingredients in this dish, sweet potato, and fresh coconut are essential. If these ingredients are substituted, you will end up with a dish that is not Pain Patate or Sweet Potato Bread. The sweet potatoes in this recipe are not your typical yellow sweet potato or yam found in many regular supermarkets.
They are called “patate” (Creole/French), and “batata” (Spanish) and they are cultivated throughout tropical and warm temperate regions wherever there is sufficient water to support their growth. I usually find them in West Indies Supermarkets or Spanish Supermarkets. Another variety that is available is the Asian sweet potato. Both types can be used in this recipe.
When making this dessert ensure that you have plenty of time and patience as I mentioned earlier. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the main ingredients. If you grind the ingredients, the texture will be smoother than if using a food processor. Unless you have a powerful food processor that will give you a smooth texture, you will have the same great taste except for the crunchiness.
You can serve this dessert with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. You can substitute raisins for dried cherries for a more tangy taste. Enjoy!
Pain Patate or Sweet Potato Bread
- 6 cups sweet white potato grated, about 3 - 4 pounds - skin is red, but the inside is white
- 1 - 2 coconut freshly grated - about 1 1/2 cup
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup milk whole milk or evaporated milk
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup butter
- 2 cups sugar brown/white or organic
- 1 teaspoon lime/lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup raisins black raisins preferably
- 2 bananas - well ripened crushed
- Peel off skin of all sweet potatoes cut into cubes and set aside. Break shell of coconut and remove second brown layer and cut into small to medium size pieces. If using a grater, grate potatoes and coconut. If using a food processor, blend potatoes and coconut in batches with water added gradually.
- In a large bowl, add all ingredients with the exception of the bananas and the vanilla extract. Stir and make sure all ingredients are well blended
- Place mixture into a deep pot and cook for 20 - 25 minutes while stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- Once cooked, stir in crushed bananas and vanilla extract. Spread evenly into a grease baking dish and bake for 40 - 45 minutes at 375°F. Cool before serving.