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Cassava Pone (sweet treat of tropics) recipe

Wanderer of ages.
There was a time when I dragged my car across the country, life in back pocket, convinced the next great thing lay under one of those rocks out there.

My adventures took me far and wide, hemmed in only by this country’s borders and the limits of my own imagination.

At the ripe old age of twenty-two, I ended up in Berkeley, CA, home of everything both weird and ridiculously normal at the same time. Buddhism, yoga, homeless people having acid flashbacks in the now-decrepit and dangerous People’s Park, the crown jewels of San Francisco Bay Area wealth glittering with haunting illusion high in the Berkeley hills. The Ashby Flea Market, a hodge-podge of booths with knick-knacks for sale, set up every weekend at the local BART (or subway) station.

I looked forward to Sundays, when I’d get off work from my collectivist restaurant job in time to enjoy a delicious cassava pone sweet treat in the just setting sun.

Mostly known as “Cuban potato” in the States, cassava is often found in Latin dishes served fried or boiled as a starchy side-dish called “yucca.” Its remarkable ability to double as a luscious dessert is showcased in this “pone” or sweetbread.Served at a Jamaican-themed booth in South Berkeley, I vowed to recreate these tasty treats when I returned to the East Coast. We ll worth the effort, cassava, or yucca, sweetbread always scores me “brownie” points at potlucks or get together with friends.


Recipe Cassava Pone
(aka Island-style Sweet bread)

2 cups peeled, shredded cassava (yucca, manioc)
1 cup coconut, shredded
1 1/4 cups sugar (or evaporated cane juice, if available)
1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
5 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola or other neutral oil)
1 cup coconut, rice, cow, or soy milk
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Peel and shred the cassava
  • Sometimes yucca can be found frozen, already peeled. This makes things a loteasier.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself if you do decide to peel it, as it has a very tough skin.
  • Also, remember that yucca is POISONOUS if it is not cooked all the way through. Literally.
  • DO NOT UNDERCOOK!
  • You can shred it by hand with a box grater, or in a food processor with the shredder blade (easiest way).
  • Mix all ingredients together well in a large bowl.
  • Place mixture in a well-oiled 8 x 13 baking pan, I prefer using glass, pyrex, or enamel baking dish for this recipe.
  • Bake at 350 degrees in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Once it starts getting crispy golden colored on top and edges, it is almost done. Check at one hour. All ovens cook differently, so watch for the color change to gauge done-ness.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing into brownie-sized wedges.

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