Since sweet potatoes were always plentiful in the south, they have always played an important role in authentic soul food dishes. Over the years, sweet potatoes have been baked, fried, boiled, mashed, and grated into main dishes, side dishes, salads, and desserts. Nowadays, the sweet potato has become a superfood, supplying fiber and nutrients (Vitamin E, beta-carotene (Vitamin A), and potassium) in addition to being low in fat, and rich in complex carbohydrates and antioxidants. The following Sweet Potato Pudding is not only a delicious and refreshing light dessert, it’s healthier than most; the addition of a small amount of cayenne pepper doesn’t add heat, but adds mysterious undertones. Canned yams can be used in this dish, but fresh ones are better. It’s easy to cook them if leftovers aren’t available – just prick in a few places with a fork and microwave 5-10 minutes until softened.
Incidentally, the similar looking “yams” that are marketed in the US are in the same family (morning glory) as the sweet potato and are totally different from true yams (nyami) that are grown in Africa and Asia; nyami are dry starchy roots with white flesh and a brown exterior. They are much bigger (some up to 7 feet long), and less sweet than sweet potatoes (and what is referred to as yams in the US.) Members of the Dioscorea family, true yams are very difficult if not impossible to find in most parts of the US. Yams marketed in the US (by law sweet potato must be somewhere on the label) can be used interchangely with sweet potatoes, but true yams cannot. (For everything you ever wanted to know about sweet potatoes, and more, there is a great web site dedicated solely to them: all-about-sweet-potatoes.com.)
The official Hancock tasters, including the children, loved this pudding. It’s a great dessert to serve anytime southern food is on the menu, and especially on the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration buffet.
3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soft butter
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Spray a shallow 2 quart glass baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Mix all ingredients except nuts until smooth.
- Pour into the prepared baking dish; sprinkle with the nuts.
- Bake 45-50 minutes or until puffed and golden.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 202 Calories from Fat 80
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 39% Protein 6% Carb. 55%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 69 mg
Sodium 167 mg
Total Carbohydrate 28 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 207% Vitamin C 28% Calcium 0% Iron 5%