What Makes Caribbean Sweet Potato Pie Stand Out From The Rest?

Pineapple and cherry cake
Pineapple and cherry cake - Alexey Beltsov/Shutterstock

From Jamaica to Cuba to Puerto Rico, the Caribbean tide connects diverse cultures, rich history, and stunning natural beauty. Interwoven in this vast coastal region is the intricate mosaic that is Caribbean cuisine, a colorful fusion of flavors and influences from Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. From this mix of global influences are dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, such as the Caribbean sweet potato pie.

Caribbean sweet potato pie may sound like it resembles the sweet potato pie you find in the United States. However, apart from both pies often being served on special occasions, there are significant differences between the two. The most obvious is the inclusion of pineapple. There are numerous ways that pineapple is eaten around the world; here, its beautifully bright and tantalizingly tropical flavor is incorporated into the pie with white sweet potatoes. Both ingredients make this pie a stand-out dish that's both sweet and savory.

A good place to start unpacking the differences and similarities between the two pies is through an exploration of the flavors and a comparison with the version you've likely enjoyed during a classic U.S. Thanksgiving gathering.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

Potatoes, Pineapple, And Pie

Pineapple slices and cherries on a dessert
Pineapple slices and cherries on a dessert - Jogy Abraham/Getty Images

Very popular in Barbados, Caribbean sweet potato pie commonly uses white sweet potatoes, also named boniato potatoes. This is a crucial ingredient to highlight as its taste and texture differ from the orange variety typically used in the recipe popular in the United States. The most apparent comparison to orange sweet potatoes is their color, but the white also tend to have a more crumbly texture and a milder, nuttier flavor. This contributes to the pie's slightly savory disposition.

However, with the inclusion of crushed pineapple pieces or pineapple juice, the Caribbean version also has a fruity edge that blends effortlessly into the potato. This pie has many variations, but some typically include margarine, milk, or cheese to add creaminess; sugar to accentuate sweetness; and spices, like cinnamon, for heat and earthiness. Bajan-style sweet potato pie can also be garnished with cheese, rings or slices of pineapple, and maraschino cherries.

It's typically served at room temperature and sometimes with a side of onion gravy, which leads the pie further into savory territory. Who can complain? With the flavors of onion, pineapple, sweet potato, and spices, one can taste tangy notes, sweet elements, and savory potato, all dotted with warm nudges.

A Comparison With U.S.-Style Sweet Potato Pie

Classic (orange) sweet potato pie
Classic (orange) sweet potato pie - Russell L. Robinson/Shutterstock

The traditional sweet potato pie in the United States usually consists of mashed sweet potatoes baked into a pie crust. While you may find some Bajan-style sweet potato pie recipes with a pie crust, many do not include a crust at all. In this sense, this Carribean sweet potato pie appears more visibly to resemble a cake made from a moist potato sponge.

The taste is the most significant comparison between the two variations of sweet potato pie. Orange sweet potato pie is rich, creamy, and sweet. These flavors are commonly accentuated with additions such as evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, and a light blend of spices, often garnished with whipped cream. Caribbean sweet potato pie embraces savory and sweet elements, finding an exciting equilibrium between the two.

In addition to Barbados sweet potato pie, there are other notable sweet potato dishes popular in the Caribbean, such as Jamaican sweet potato pudding. If you have the chance to try your hand at making a Caribbean sweet potato pie, you're in for a mouthwatering and unforgettable culinary experience.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.