Although renowned for producing great musicians such as Bob Marley and outstanding athletes like Usain Bolt, there are other things about the little island of Jamaica that causes it to be the focus of worldwide attention. One of these is its diverse and exquisite cuisine, which is creating waves in its own right as well. A prime example of this is its tasty Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding.
Wash the potatoes to get them nice and clean then peel them. During the peeling process a bit of dirt may find itself back on to the potatoes so wash them again afterwards to ensure that they are really clean. Grate the potatoes now and put them aside for the time being. Grate the coconut and put aside ½ cup of it. To the rest of the grated coconut add the water and squeeze the mixture through a strainer. This is your coconut juice, which come to approximately 2 cups. The residue of the grated coconut left in the strainer after juicing is to be thrown away. Tin coconut milk can be used instead of making your own using the method mentioned but the finished product will be missing the grated coconut, which gives the pudding a distinctive texture and flavor.
In a big enough mixing bowl combine the flour, mixed spice, nutmeg and salt. Now add the grated sweet potato to the mixture and be sure to mix well. The rest of ingredients will now be added; this includes the coconut milk, margarine, grated coconut, vanilla, almond extract, sugar and dried fruits (or raisins). Again be sure the batter is properly mixed. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the baking pan and pour the batter into it. Bake the mixture for approximately 50 minutes. Check to see if the pudding is done by sticking a knife into its middle. If the knife comes up clean or very nearly clean then the pudding is ready. Should the knife come up with what appears to be half cooked batter on it let it bake for another 10 minutes. Take out the finished product, let it stand for approximately ½ hour and it is ready to be eaten.
Although the potato pudding can be eaten when warm and is quite tasty, if it is kept in the refrigerator for a few hours and eaten cold it definitely tastes a whole lot better. The difference is like night and day. If this pudding finds itself in a dwelling inhabited by four or more persons it is guaranteed that it will not last longer than three days tops. It is that good. Don’t take my word for it however, as the saying goes…”The proof of the pudding is in the eating”. The secret in getting this delightful treat tasting just right is to use as many natural ingredients as possible. And if the crust is a little dark and hard in some places never mind, those parts are the nicest!