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!