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The sweeter side of Dasheen

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Date: 
Friday, October 6, 2017

A display of desert items made from dasheen.

Dasheen’s mellow, earthy flavour and firm yet creamy texture makes it the perfect addition to delicious stews and curries, and it can also be enjoyed in bite-sized chunks in the rich soups traditionally cooked on Saturdays (or any day of the week you wish!)

However, with the dawn of the Tobago Blue Food Festival in 2008, local cooks began exploring just how versatile this root vegetable can be. In addition to innovative culinary treats from wines to wantons, dasheen has a surprisingly sweeter side.

With the rising popularity of dasheen flour, which is locally milled by blue food connoisseur and one of the founders of the Tobago Blue Food Festival, Andy Chance, now more than ever budding chefs and culinary experts alike can satisfy their sweet tooth and (finally!) get their kids to eat their vegetables with delectable dasheen desserts.

Here are four surprisingly sweet dishes made from dasheen.

Dasheen-coconut

ice-cream

Ice-cream is always a crowd pleaser, but this version made with dasheen puree is sure to have you asking for more. Scores of kids and adults alike have consistently enjoyed this treat at the Tobago Blue Food Festival, with popular flavour variations such as dasheen-coconut churned the old fashioned way.

Dasheen Kurmar

This sweet, crunchy snack spiced with ginger is a popular East-Indian delicacy in Trinidad and Tobago. The deceptively simple recipe which includes sugar, flour, butter or shortening and spices, takes on a unique twist by swapping out the plain flour with dasheen flour. Gluten-free snacking has never tasted so good!

Dasheen Black cake

Traditionally known as a Christmas treat, black cake is enjoyed year round by many Trinbagonians, but never like this! The texture of dasheen flour seems to absorb the many exotic spices and liqueurs used in traditional black cake, enhancing the flavours to amaze any palate.

Mango Dasheen Cream Tarts

Mango? Check. Dasheen? Check. This unique dish pairs two locally grown and universally adored produce in Tobago, further enhanced by exotic Caribbean spices and dried coconut flakes. It includes dasheen both in its natural form and dasheen flour.

This recipe was developed by Blue Food veteran Yzanne Williams-Chance who is the author of the famed recipe book “Taste of Tobago: Blue Food Recipe Book.”

For this recipe and more, you can purchase this book at the Blue Food Shop—one of the many sites and attractions at the Tobago Blue Food Festival which will be held at the Bloody Bay Recreational Grounds on Sunday, October 15 from 10 am. Alternately, come see (and taste) for yourself the seemingly endless mouth-watering dishes on sale at the Festival.

Mango Dasheen Cream Tarts

Ingredients

• 8 ozs cream cheese, softened

• 2 cups crushed mango

• 1 cup cooked, crushed dasheen

• 1 cup sugar

• 1 Pinch of salt

• 1 egg & 2 egg yolks beaten

• 1 cup melted butter

• 1 tsp vanilla

• 1 tsp cinnamon

• 1 tsp ground ginger

Crust

• 1 cup coconut flakes

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• 1 cup dasheen flour

• 2 ozs butter

• 1/3 cup confectionary sugar

• 1 tsp salt

• Cold water

Method

Using a pastry blender or mixer combine first six ingredients for crust until it forms coarse bread crumbs. Add a little cold water at a time just to combine; refrigerate until ready to use.

In mixer, cream sugar and cream cheese together until combined. Add mango and dasheen, mix well. In a bowl, mix all other ingredients together and mix in cream mixture. Grease four 4-inch pie pans. Cut the pastry into four equal parts and line the pans with mixture. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until firm and done (toothpick inserted comes out clean). Serve with fruit compote or by itself. Enjoy!