Sunday, February 1, 2015

West Indian - Style Sweet Potato Bun

One of the coolest things about living and working in Canada, especially so close to a metropolis like Toronto, is the total multiculturalism we're exposed to every day.  Going to work fills my weeks with essentially a World's fair of experiences, from the festival celebrations for every religion I can think of to the international array of staff, students and guests filling the buildings. Our multiculturalism is reflected in the school menus too - finding corned beef and cabbage, quiche, Jamaican-style patties and Spanish-style rice pilaf as regular features amongst the more "American" chicken noodle soup and macaroni and cheese.

One of the more common (albeit hit-and-miss acceptance wise) snacks on the school menu is "spice bun" - a dense, hearty, spicy and sweet bread filled with raisins and/or candied fruit. Whether made in a "quick" (baking powder) style or with yeast, it's definitely not lacking in flavour or texture, and depending on the recipe added liquor lends an "adults only" fruitcake-like note to the finished good. Traditionally, spice bun is sliced thickly and served with Cheddar cheese at Easter and Christmas in the Caribbean, but here it's available year round at West Indian groceries. Rather than slices of Cheddar, at school we add either a smear of butter or cream cheese to our slices to tone down any extra spiciness the children might find offensive.

West Indian - Style Sweet Potato Bun

That said, the adults who manage to commandeer any leftovers are a different story! I made one of my co-workers a loaf of her own a few weeks back, made moist with pureed sweet potato, molasses and coconut oil, peppered with coconut, raisins and candied fruit and laced with allspice. The vegan loaf also got an unexpected lift and additional spicy-sweet note from ginger ale, making the finished product the perfect addition to a coffee break when escaping from the cold, blustery weather!

West Indian - Style Sweet Potato Bun
Inspired by Lovely Pantry
Makes one loaf, 12 pieces
12 oz ginger ale (not diet)
½ cup dark Muscovado sugar
2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp allspice
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 cup flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup sweet potato puree
¼ cup shredded coconut
½ cup raisins
¼ cup diced candied fruit mix
  1. Heat the oven to 350F and grease a 9x5” loaf pan
  2. In a large pot, combine ginger ale, sugar, molasses, allspice and oil. Cook over low heat just until the sugar has dissolved and coconut oil is melted.
  3. Whisk in the flax seed and remove from heat.
  4. Mix in the flours, baking powder, sweet potato puree, coconut, raisins and candied fruit.
  5. Pour into prepared loaf pan
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Unmould immediately onto a rack to cool.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 249.4
Total Fat: 3.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 25.5 mg
Total Carbs: 50.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 11.8 g
Protein: 5.2 g