I thought about making a King's cake, and I definitely will some day, but for this post I wanted to find something a little more unusual, something different from what I normally associate with New Orleans and Mardi Gras. No jambalaya-gumbo-ettouffee or red-beans-and rice for me.
But I was also a little pressed for time, so I did a quick internet search, determined to avoid the usual suspects. Which is how my eye was caught by sweet potato pone, something with which I was completely unfamiliar. I knew corn pone, but what was this sweet potato pone?
According to Judy Walker of the Times-Picayne, sweet potato pone is the same thing as pain patate, which street vendors used to sell in the early 1900s. Today it can be found at Jazz Fest. It has been described as a dense pudding and nothing like the quick breads that I am used to thinking of as pone. It is classified as both a side and a dessert, which intrigued my sweet tooth. And the spices used in it are similar to the spices I've been using lately, what with all of the ginger snaps and molasses cookies I have been making.
I decided that would be my Mardi Gras dish. I already had everything on hand except for the sweet potatoes, but a quick trip to the grocery store fixed that. It was a little bit of a challenge to grate the sweet potatoes, and I think the recipe I used had too little, but I don't know if it would have the same consistency if I used the food processor. Never having had it before, I also wasn't sure how it was supposed to turn out, so I have no idea of whether or not what I ended up with is how it is supposed to be.
But it was delicious. Sweet, yes, but the texture and the taste of the grated sweet potato helped counter the sweetness. I believe I mentioned that I think the recipe I used did not call for the right amount of potatoes. That is reinforced by the fact that I found the same recipe elsewhere online (attributed to the same source), that called for twice the amount, which matched the 2 extra-large potatoes it said should equal the amount. So I am going to reflect that amount in the recipe even though that's not what I made. As good as mine was, I think it would have been twice as good with twice the amount of sweet potatoes.
As with many recipes I find, especially online, this one needs a little tweaking. But it is worth it as a special treat for a special meal. It made the perfect side for braised pork chops and mustard greens. I used the juice from the orange I zested for the pone to braise the chops. They were delicious. No dessert necessary.
Home Cookin Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
SWEET POTATO PONE / PAIN PATATE
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
4 cups peeled, grated sweet potatoes (two extra large)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup molasses
Zest of1/2 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cardomom
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 (or more) tsp black pepper
Preheat the oven to 325 deg. F.
Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs.
Add the sweet potatoes, milk and spices and mix well. Stir in the molasses and orange and lemon zests.
Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until browned and crisp on top.
Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (www.mountain-software.com)