Sweet potato pudding is a classic Jamaican dessert. It is traditionally cooked in an iron dutch pot or dutch oven. The hell on top are the live coals on top of the pot’s cover and the hell on bottom are the live coals in what is called a coal stove. The pudding would cook at the top and at the bottom without any need for an oven. This is the skilled way to make this pudding and I wouldn’t dare attempt it. This recipe was cooked in a conventional oven and with none of the stress of a coal oven.
“Hell a top,
Hell a bottom,
Hallelujah in the middle.”
The potatoes used in this recipe are Jamaican sweet potatoes with a reddish colored skin and cream colored flesh. Once the potatoes are grated, the flesh will oxidize and turn brown. This is completely normal and will not affect the taste of the pudding. The one caveat with making this pudding is the shortcut people try to take by skipping the step of grating the potatoes. Ladies and gentlemen, you MUST grate the potatoes if you want the right consistency and texture for this pudding. If the potatoes are blended, the texture of the pudding will be too soft and mushy. Put on a good show and take your time to grate the potatoes. You will be done in no time and your end product will be exceptional.
At the end of the bake, the top of the pudding should be softer than the rest of the pudding and the edges should be crispy. I love this pudding hot or warm but you can definitely enjoy it cold. The best part of this dessert is that it could be cooked entirely vegan if you substitute the butter for plant based butter. There are no eggs, no cow’s milk and no other animal products in this dessert. I think that means this is a true winner.
For sweet potato pudding you will need:
- 6 ramekins or 2-9 inch round baking tins
- 1 baking tray
- 1 large bowl
- Measuring cups
- Wooden spoon
- Sharp Knife
- 6 cups coconut milk
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp almond essence
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp Benjamins artificial vanilla
- 2 lbs Jamaican sweet potatoes
- 2.5 cups brown sugar
- 3.5 cups of flour
- 1 tbsp white rum
- 3 tbsp butter + butter for greasing ramekins/tins
- ½ cup raisins
- Wash and peel potatoes removing just a thin layer of skin with a sharp knife. Cut each potato in half to make it more manageable when grating.
- In a large bowl, grate each potato. Once all the potatoes are finished, set aside. The potatoes will change color and turn brown. This is okay. It will not affect the taste of the pudding. Discard what is left of the potato when you cannot grate it any further. Do not allow those ends to fall into the already grated potatoes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large pitcher, add 6 cups of coconut milk. To the milk, brown sugar and dissolve it in the milk with a wooden spoon.
- To the sweetened milk, add salt, almond essence, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and stir well to combine. Reserve 2 cups of the sweetened milk mixture and set aside. The reserved milk will be used on the tops of the puddings right before baking.
- Alternate adding milk mixture and flour to the grated potatoes. Add in about 1 cup of milk and mix well to combine. Then add in 1 cup of flour and mix well to combine. Continue to alternate the flour and milk mixture until all of the flour and milk is incorporated in the potatoes. (see video)
- Add two tablespoons of butter in small dollops into the mixture. Mix in the butter well.
- Once all of the milk, flour and butter is incorporated into the potatoes, grease ramekins or baking pans liberally with more butter. Do not flour pans.
- Pour mixture into each ramekin leaving about 1 inch of space at the top.
- Top each filled ramekin with a few raisins. Put as many as you would like. I did not add raisins directly to the mix as they would all sink to the bottom of the pudding.
- Use a small measuring cup or spoon to pour roughly 2 tbsp of reserved milk mixture on top of each pudding. You want only about ½ inch of liquid on top of each pudding. This is what will make the soft tops once the pudding is baked.
- Add small dollops of butter on top of each pudding, no more than 1 tbsp total. The butter will help to create the soft tops.
- Place the ramekins on top of a baking tray and bake for 45-50 mins.
- Remove from the oven and allow puddings to slightly cool before attempting to remove them from the ramekins or tins.
- You may enjoy the puddings warm or cold with whipped cream, ice cream or just alone. Enjoy!