Cassava Pone is a popular sweet dessert among many of the Caribbean islands (the "one" in the word "Pone" is pronounced like the "one" in phone). The recipe varies from island to island, but the main ingredient is always the Cassava root (also called manioc, yuca (not the same as yucca) or manihot esculenta).
Pone is dense, chewy and sweet, heavier than a pudding. The starches from the Cassava contribute to the “gummy” texture, while the pumpkin, coconut, milk and spices like cinnamon, give it the signature delicious taste. Oh and the pumpkin gives it a nice golden color, the overall finish resembling a piece of yellow opal stone.
Pone is a humble, fairly inexpensive dessert that manages to still feel comforting and indulgent. There are no fancy techniques, no whipping, no creaming, no folding, no sifting. If you are a from scratch person then you will have to grate the cassava, coconut and pumpkin. Quite the workout but not particularly difficult.
It is said to be a recipe which originated with the Amerindians, the indigenous people of the Caribbean. With fresh ingredients you can easily make this gluten free cassava pone!
2 cups grated cassava*
1 cup grated coconut*
1/2 cup grated pumpkin*
1/2 cup grated sweet potato* (optional)
1/2 cup softened butter (or a vegan alternative)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract
evaporated or whole milk (if needed)
*These ingrediens are uncooked. Grate before measuring
*If you decide not to use the sweet potato, make up the quantity with more cassava and pumpkin
Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease or line a baking ceramic or pyrex dish (about 9”)
In a large enough bowl, place all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. The mixture will be qiuite thick but you should still be able to turn it. Add a little milk at a time if necessary
Pour the mixture into your baking dish. Smooth the top with a simple syrup of water and sugar
Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the dish
Slice into squares, serve and enjoy