Jamaican sweet potato pudding, also known as sweet potato ‘pone,’ is a delectable traditional dessert. This dessert originated in Jamaica and was traditionally baked over a coal pit, with hot coals placed both underneath and on top of the covered dish. This unique cooking method is affectionately referred to as “hell a top, hell a bottom, and hallelujah in the middle.”
Can You Substitute Jamaican Sweet Potatoes with American Sweet Potatoes?
One key distinction between Jamaican sweet potatoes and American sweet potatoes lies in their appearance and texture. Jamaican sweet potatoes feature white flesh with red skin, while American sweet potatoes have orange flesh with reddish-brown skin. Jamaican sweet potatoes tend to be starchier compared to their American counterparts, which are softer when cooked. Therefore, it is not recommended to use American sweet potatoes for this recipe if you desire an authentic Jamaican sweet potato pudding experience.
Now, let’s dive into the recipe for this traditional ‘Old-Time’ Jamaican dessert, packed with sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and authentic Jamaican spices and flavours.
- 2 ½ lbs Jamaican sweet potato (purple skin)
- 2 cups coconut milk (for blending)
- 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp almond essence
- 1 tbsp mixed spice liquid
- 1 tbsp rum
- ¼ cup shredded coconut/coconut flakes (optional)
- Dry Ingredients:
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ cup finely ground cornmeal
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1 tbsp ginger powder
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup raisins (optional)
- ½ cup thick coconut milk
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ginger powder
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp melted butter
- Peel and wash the sweet potatoes, then cut them into small 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a 9-inch round baking pan.
- In a blender, combine 4-5 cups of chopped sweet potatoes with 1 cup of coconut milk. Blend on high until smooth, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining sweet potatoes and coconut milk.
- Add the brown sugar, vanilla, almond essence, rum, and liquid mixed spice to the bowl of blended sweet potatoes. Mix well to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cornmeal, cornstarch, salt, ginger powder, and ground nutmeg.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the blended sweet potatoes using a large spoon. Mix until there are no traces of flour left.
- Optional: Add shredded coconut or coconut flakes to the mixture and mix well.
- Toss the raisins in a small bowl of flour to coat them lightly. Shake off any excess flour and distribute the raisins evenly into the batter. Stir the batter lightly to ensure the raisins are incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the greased baking tin and place it on a rack in the centre of the oven. Bake for approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes.
- While the pudding bakes, prepare the custard mixture by combining all the custard ingredients in a small bowl.
- After 2 hours and 20 minutes, check the doneness of the pudding by inserting a knife into the centre. If the centre is relatively firm and the knife comes out mostly clean, the pudding is ready for the custard.
- If the centre is still soft, bake the pudding for another 20-30 minutes and retest.
- Once the pudding is firm in the centre, pour the custard mixture on top, using the back of a spoon to spread it evenly.
- Return the pudding to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the pudding from the oven and let it cool uncovered on the countertop for about an hour. For optimal firmness, refrigerate the pudding after it has cooled completely.
- Note: It can be kept refrigerated to savour its delightful flavours for an extended period.