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Pan de Batata is an enigma; translated loosely to 'Sweet Potato Bread', it's not made with sweet potatoes, nor is it a bread.  Some translations refer to it as a pudding, but it certainly isn't one, as pudding is understood in English.   Batata is a relative of the orange sweet potato we know, and is also called boniato in many countries, which is also the word for sweet potato; in Miami, it's called 'boniato Cubano'.  Therefore this recipe is referred to as 'Pan de Boniato' in some areas.  See Miami - a Third World Country? for my personal problem with this veggie! Batata is a staple of many Hispanic diets, and this sweet dish is an especially treasured treat in the Dominican Republic.

The batata or boniato is an ugly sweet potato, rougher skinned, usually more rusty red that yellow-orange, with a white flesh that is harder, drier and less sweet than our sweet potato.  You won't find it in strictly American markets, but it's probably available in any community with a Latino population.  Don't try to make this dish with American sweet potatoes - it won't fly.  This spicy treat can be eaten as a dessert or a snack.   It keeps well in the refrigerator for several days, if not eaten up first.

Pan de Batata

2 lb.+ of batata
3/4 C. coconut milk (1/2 can) (Note)
3/4 C. evaporated milk
1/2 C. butter or non-hydrogenated margarine
2 eggs
1 tsp. grated ginger root or chopped candied ginger
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. allspice
pinch black pepper
2/3 C. raisins
1/2 C. shredded coconut

Peel batatas; you will need at least 2 lb. peeled. Cut into chunks; they will turn ugly gray as you peel, ignore it.  Cook, covered with water, until fork tender.  Drain well and let cool to warm.

While batatas are draining, preheat oven to 350░ F.  Generously butter an 8" x 10" casserole, or 9" x 13" baking pan or 2 square cake pans.

Combine the dry ingredients.  Also combine separately the milk and coconut milk.  Mash the warm batatas with an electric mixer (or by hand), adding enough milk to keep it manageable.  Add rest of milk; add eggs one at a time, and the ginger,  then the dry ingredients, beating well after each addition.  Add the raisins and coconut and mix.  Pour into the buttered baking dish.

Bake for 45 min. to 1-1/2 hr. depending on thickness.  Test with a knife inserted in the middle; when it comes out clean, not coated, the dessert is done.

Note:  canned coconut milk isn't the water in the inside of the coconut; it's a rich, creamy liquid extracted from the coconut flesh.  If you don't have coconut milk, use a whole can of evaporated milk and 1 tsp. coconut extract, plus an extra tablespoonful or two of butter, if desired.

The Sneaky Kitchen
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