Imagine biting in to a warm nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger spiced sugart coconut treat – well imagine now longer – simply enjoy a Gizzada. The Gizzada is a coconut tart. The sides of the tart are pinched around it to hold all of the sweet and spicy coconut goodness inside.
This coconut tart is well liked, so much so people are very possessive of their recipes. Most pass theirs down from generation to generation. Most opt for the tried and true method of a mixture of grated coconut, ginger, nutmeg, all spice, cinnamon and sugar, put into a pastry shell.
Don’t forget to take a bite of this little taste of sunshine when next in Jamaica.
Another traditional favorite comes from one of our main food staples, the plantain. The plantain is a larger cousin to the banana. The ripe plantain flesh is prepared with a mixture of authentic Jamaican spices such as All Spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and gartered ginger, and spooned into small pastry shells topped with just a sprinkle of brown sugar and baked to a sweet delectable perfection. Best served warm, this treat is perfect complement to 4 ‘o clock teatime, or after meal – in Jamaica, it’s always the perfect time for a plantain tart.
The Tamarind is said to have originated in Jamaica with the arrival Indian indentured laborers in the 19th century. In addition to the plethora of other spices, textiles, and traditions – we received the Tamarind.
This tree that is often used to share drive ways or main thoroughfares bears a pod that contains the tamarind fruit. The fruit can be used for juices, sauces and of course whats now considered a national candy, the Tamarind ball. The pulp of the fruit is rolled in gartered ginger and a variety of other spices and then rolled in sugar to form a ball like shape and left to air dry. Once dried the Tamarind ball makes a delicious bite size treat that is sweet and spicy and irresistible.
While many people outside of Jamaica hear this word and immediately think of marriage, to Jamaicans, Matrimony also refers to a chilled creamy fruit salad.Traditionally made around Christmas time when the main ingredient - the purple star apple bares, this light and fresh dessert is a unique marriage exotic fruit flavors.
The main ingredient of this delicate dessert is the purple star apple. Bearing only during the winter season, this fruit is quite a treat. Its dark purple, shiny skin, make it quite easy to spot amongst the other Jamaican fruits available locally.
The star apple is about the size of an orange that encloses 8 translucent segments of pink hued pulp. The fruit is native to Jamaica and is a delicious accompaniment to the orange that also grows abundantly in Jamaica, paired with condensed milk (a sweet thick dairy product) and just a hint of nutmeg (also native to Jamaica), this dessert will have you longing for another taste of sweet, sweet Jamaica.
Sweet Potato Pudding
Dating back to slavery, the Sweet Potato pudding was a good use of left over sweet potatoes and provided slaves with something sweet to enjoy after a hard day in the fields. Later on in the 1940’s rations of rum, sugar and coffee were sent off with Jamaica’s airmen during World War II. Many still recount receiving small packages sent from wives and mothers containing a slice of home baked sweet potato pone, just a whiff was all they needed to give them the strength and courage to persevere so they could return home to loved ones.
“Hell a top, Hell a bottom, Hallelujah in the middle” was how the cooking process of this authentic dessert was described. Originally the pudding mixture was made very simply over a coal fire. Placed in an old time Dutch pot with hot coals (hell) on the top of the pot and hot coals (hell) beneath. The pudding (Alleluia) otherwise would cook simultaneously in the middle from both ends.
Traditionally, the Jamaican Sweet Potato pone or pudding as some refer to it, is a mixture of sweet potatoes, flour, sugar, evaporated milk, coconut milk, nutmeg, vanilla, brown sugar, sherry or Rum, butter and a small amount of yam. A mixture of sweet, spicy and creamy, this dessert is served in slices like cake, but its texture is more of a smooth pie.
Sweet potato pone can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature. No matter how you have it, it’s simply a delicious taste of Jamaica.