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 1-9 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 of 1 tbsp if using real vanilla
- 2 lbs Jamaican sweet potatoes
- 1 3/4 cups brown sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp white rum
- 1/4 cup softened butter + butter for greasing ramekins/tins
- ½ cup raisins (optional)
- 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 or bowl, add 6 cups of coconut milk. To the milk, add the brown sugar, salt, almond essence, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and rum. Stir well to combine. Reserve 1 cup of the sweetened milk mixture and set aside. The reserved milk will be used on the tops of the puddings once it has firmed up in the oven.
- Start by adding the milk mixture to the grated potatoes. Alternate the flour and milk mixture until all of the flour and milk is incorporated in the potatoes. (see video)
- Add 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 the greased baking tin leaving about 1 inch of space at the top.
- Top the filled tins with raisins if using. Lightly flour the raisins before adding to the pudding to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the pan.
- Place the tin in the oven and bake for 50 mins. Add the reserved liquid for the soft top and bake an additional 15-20 minutes. You may use a toothpick to test the center. If it comes out clean, the pudding is cooked.
- Remove from the oven and allow pudding to slightly cool before attempting to remove them from the tin.
- You may enjoy the puddings warm or cold with whipped cream, ice cream or just alone. Enjoy!