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Try a slice of Bahamian comfort


Crave sweet?
Try a slice of Bahamian comfort

If you have an incurable sweet tooth, you’ll find many special delights in The Bahamas that you probably won’t find back home: rum cake, guava desserts and ice cream flavours such as mango, coconut and sapodilla. Sapodilla, commonly called “dilly,” is a tropical fruit grown throughout The Bahamas. It’s round, two to four inches in diameter, with a pale green interior and a brown skin. Dilly has a pleasant, distinctive taste that is pear-like with a hint of brown sugar. This makes it a versatile ingredient for many desserts.

Soursop, another well-known fruit, grows throughout the tropics. It’s round and elongated, and can grow up to 12 inches long and six inches wide. Its skin has a green, leathery texture covered with small knobby spines. Soursop contains a creamy pulp with a mildly sweet taste that is prized in making jellies, jams, ice cream, smoothies and other sweet drinks.

One of the most widely used fruits is guava, which has a pale green skin and pink flesh containing hundreds of seeds. It is pleasantly, not overly, sweet and is an ingredient in jams and jellies as well as desserts. Guava duff, although time-consuming to make, is undoubtedly the favourite of all Bahamian desserts.

Rum cake
A dessert treat for visitors and locals alike is rum cake, featured on the menus of many restaurants around town. Purity Bakery of Nassau makes a rum cake with Bacardi rum, available at stores throughout Nassau, Cable Beach and Paradise Island.

Purity has been producing the cakes for many years in three flavours —original, piña colada and Nassau Royale chocolate. While rum cakes make great desserts and treats, they also make ideal gifts or souvenirs.

Rum cakes can be enjoyed right from the tin, but they can also be served other ways.

For example, melt chocolate in a double-boiler and drizzle over the cake and serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Rum cake can also be served chilled, drizzled with your favourite rum and topped with whipped cream. For something extra special, try it with raspberry sauce

Rum cake & raspberry sauce
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1⁄2 cup water
1 tsp kirsch or 1⁄4 tsp almond extract
2⁄3 cup fresh raspberries

Combine first three ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and jam melts. Remove from heat and stir in kirsch or almond extract. Cool to room temperature. Gently fold raspberries into cooled sauce. Drizzle over rum cake and serve.

Bahamian Key lime pie
Legend has it that Key lime pie was first created in The Bahamas, but don’t tell Floridians that. Here is a tasty, easy-to-prepare recipe.
Key lime pie
1 pre-made flaky pie crust or
graham cracker crust
4 egg yolks
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed Key lime juice

While the crust is in the oven, prepare the pie filling.

Prebake the crust in a pie plate at 350ºF until golden. Remove pie plate from oven, leave oven at 350ºF. Let crust cool slightly on a rack.

Beat the egg yolks until just combined. Beat in the condensed milk and add lime juice slowly. The mixture will thicken. Place pie plate on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the warm crust and bake 10-15 mins or until the filling is just firm. Remove and cool on a rack for 10 mins and serve.
Bahamian smoothies

Some desserts are enjoyed as a shake or a smoothie. Here are two, offered in Many Tastes of The Bahamas, a cook book by Lady Darling, wife of former Governor General Sir Clifford Darling.

Banana guava daiquiri
1 ripe banana
2 ripe guavas
Juice from one orange
Sugar to taste
11⁄2 cups crushed ice
Guava slices for garnish

Peel and chop the banana. Peel the guavas, remove the seeds and slice. Reserve one guava slice per drink for garnish. Combine the banana, remaining guava slices, sugar and orange juice with ice. Blend, pour into a tall glass and garnish with a guava slice.

Tropical rum shake
1 pint softened vanilla ice cream
1 oz rum
1⁄2 oz crème de cacao
1 tbsp chopped crystallized ginger root

In a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into two long- stemmed glasses. Serve.

Versatile rum
Perhaps because it’s made from molasses, a by-product of sugar refining in hot countries, rum is the alcoholic beverage most often associated with a holiday in the tropics.

Hundreds of different rums are manufactured throughout the Caribbean area, ranging from crystal clear to dark brown in clarity, and from smooth and elegant to rough and ready in taste.

Rum is believed to have made its debut in Barbados in the early 1600s. The darker more robustly flavoured ones are favourites with chefs who create distinctive and sometimes quirky rum-infused sauces and desserts.

Rum is probably the most called-for spirit in Bahamian bars and is used to make popular cocktails such as the yellow bird, piña colada, mai tai, rum runner and, of course, the famous Bahama mama.

Bartenders have many ways of mixing Bahama mamas, but they all use three or more rums and a variety of juices. In Nassau the ingredients are blended with crushed ice. Here’s one version you can try at home that includes bitters and grenadine.

Bahama mama
1 oz coconut rum
11⁄4 oz amber rum
11⁄2 oz Nassau Royale Liqueur
2 oz orange juice
2 oz pineapple juice
Dash of Angostura bitters
Dash grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and a slice of orange.


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