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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding with Pineapple Sauce





Sweet potatoes and pineapple won September's Crazy Ingredient Challenge poll. Two relatively sweet ingredients and I, the dessert queen, almost made a savoury dish. Oh the horror. I pictured sweet potato cupcakes with a pineapple frosting, piped all perfectly like a sunflower. Perfect piping? Quite a dream. So why no cupcakes? Simple reason. Jamaican sweet potatoes are a bit different from American sweet potatoes. On the outside, the skin is a reddish colour. On the inside, they are white, yellow, or orange. It's not easy to find the orange ones in my area. The water content is also different. American sweet potatoes are WET compared to ours. With that in mind, I didn't want to try them in cupcakes. I couldn't think of another dessert so I decided to go savoury

Source
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But then I remembered that there is one way that we do use sweet potatoes in dessert. And that's in a sweet potato pudding. The sweet potato is grated - a good a workout for the arm - and then combined with spices, coconut milk and a little flour. Some add rum, cornmeal, and other tubers too. Traditionally, this would be baked over coals and with coals piled on top too. "Hell at the top and hell at the bottom."

This was my second time making sweet potato pudding. The first time, I used American sweet potatoes and that pudding probably took as long as the Thanksgiving turkey to bake. Silly me forgot that the American sweet potatoes had a higher water content and did not compensate. It still tasted good though - just not as firm. If you do try with American sweet potatoes, I honestly cannot tell you how much liquid to use. I'd have to get some and try again. You can find the variety of sweet potatoes that we have here in an international supermarket. In the Cuban supermarkets in Miami, they are labelled "boniato". Other places call them to "batata" and Trudy says she finds them labelled as "Japanese sweet potatoes".

Remember to look at the other sweet potato and pineapple creations below.




Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding with Pineapple Sauce

Ingredients
Pudding
900 grams sweet potato
200 grams brown sugar
120 grams flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
700 ml coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon browning (optional)
Sauce
1 20 ounce can pineapple pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Maraschino cherries, chopped
splash of rum


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9" pan and line it with parchment paper.

Grate or process the sweet potatoes and set them aside. In another bowl, mix together sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss in the sweet potatoes until they are coated. Pour in the coconut milk, vanilla, and browning (if using). Stir until combined.

Bake 45 minutes or until the pudding is set.

For the pineapple sauce, drain the pineapple and reserve 3/4 cup of liquid. Whisk together the liquid with the cornstarch until well dissolved. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then ad the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Keep stirring! Let the mixture boil for one minute and then add the pineapple pieces and cherries. Keep stirring until the fruit is warm then remove from the heat and stir in a splash or three of rum.

Serve over pudding.








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Monday, August 28, 2017

Ackee and Saltfish Muffin - #MuffinMonday



Once again, I am recreating a favourite breakfast in muffin form. Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica's national dish. The ackee is a fruit that can be toxic if eaten when unripe while saltfish typically refers to salted cod. When I wasn't in Jamaica, I could only find salted Alaskan Pollock and that worked well too. The dish isn't the most complex - you boil the ackee, prepare the saltfish (by rinsing several times and then boiling or soaking in hot water for a while) and then you sauté the two together with onion, garlic, tomatoes and any other seasonings that you fancy. Some think that the prepared dish looks a bit like scrambled eggs. I guess if you allow the ackees to break down during the cooking process, it might. I think keeping the pieces as whole as possible looks a lot more attractive. My mother won't eat it if the ackee is crushed while I have friends who won't eat it if it is not crushed. If you cook it, I will eat it, but I'd prefer it you didn't crush it.

Ackee at various stages. The closed fruit is toxic. The open one is ready to be cooked and eaten

Ackee and Saltfish. Source: Food Network



When I first thought of this muffin, I had intended on adding each component separately to the muffin batter - some ackee, some saltfish, tomatoes, onions, etc. But on the day that I was ready to make these, I needed to wait for my ackee to thaw (I had parboiled it beforehand). While waiting, it occurred to me that I had already prepared some ackee and saltfish for breakfast. Why not just use that? So now this muffin becomes a way to use up leftovers. I'll use the other ackee in a quiche, fritters, or in some future muffins. The ackee is quite mild tasting and I saw a sweet muffin that I'd like to try with it.

Be sure to visit all the other Muffin Monday bakers! Their links are below.


Ackee and Saltfish Muffins 
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients 
240 grams flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
a few dashes of black pepper
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil
200 grams prepared ackee and saltfish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F and prep your muffin pan. Use liners or grease the cups.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper. In a separate container, whisk milk, egg, and oil. If the ackee is in larger pieces, dice into small pieces.

Gently stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Mix until almost combined and there are still streaks of flour remaining. Fold in the ackee and saltfish.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.




#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Chili Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream - #CIC



I'm late! I'm late! Sorry to my fellow Crazy Ingredient Challenge members. It's the end of the day on the 20th and I'm just typing this. It was bad planning on my part coupled with my electricity company hating me. I woke up early this morning intending on getting this done. I'd be a little late but not too late. I woke up to a message from my cousin - "There'll be no electricity today between 7:30 and 5." It was 6:41 am. Welp. That changes things. My phone wasn't charged and there were a ton of other little things that I needed to get done in 49 minutes. CIC would have to wait.

I don't know why there was a scheduled power outage - maintenance, perhaps - but I am back in the land of the living. Life without internet is rough! The lack of electricity, in general, sucks too. But one can make do during the day. No internet, however? That's no way to live. I finished a novel that I've been reading for a few months and fully intended on getting a bunch of other things done. But I napped instead.

Let's soothe our souls with cupcakes. The winning ingredients were chili powder and honey. Easy. But the easy ones always stump me. Luckily, I have people who think for me so it was JJ who suggested chili chocolate cupcakes with a honey buttercream. I'm supposed to share a cupcake with her. Uhm. Well.. Maybe if I pretended that I didn't make them then I don't have to share them? The chili powder isn't particularly strong. It's an underlying flavour. I think next time I'll skip the cinnamon so the the chili powder and cayenne can really shine. Experiment with the cayenne. I doubled the amount called for in the original recipe and I think I could definitely kick it up another notch. But someone else who is sensitive to pepper might not feel the same way.

Scroll down to see the other chili powder and honey recipes this month!


Chili Chocolate Cupcakes
(slightly adapted from Good Food; yield: 12)

Ingredients
Cupcakes
115 grams of flour
60 grams cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
115 grams butter
200 grams sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
120 millilitres milk

Honey Buttercream 
300 grams butter
120 grams confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, chili powder, and cayenne.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time at beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Add a third of the flour mixture and half the milk - mix until just incorporated. Add another third then the rest of the milk. Mix again until just incorporated and then mix in the remaining flour.
Scoop about a quarter cup into each cupcake wrapper. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream.
Beat the butter until creamy and then slowly incorporate the confectioner's sugar. Beat until well combined and then add in the honey, vanilla, and salt. If the buttercream is too stiff, add a bit of milk. If it's too thin, add in some more powdered sugar.

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