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Bahamian treats for the incurable sweet tooth

Recipes for Bahamian rum cake, key lime pie, banana guava daiquiri and tropical rum shake


Fluffy mounds of meringue, ribbons of buttery caramel, a helping of smooth chocolate mousse; dessert is the stuff of dreams for diners with a sweet tooth.

In The Bahamas, look for special delights that you probably won’t find back home: rum cake, guava duff and Bahamian flavoured ice creams – 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, sometimes 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 is undoubtedly the favourite of all Bahamian desserts. It’s made with fresh or frozen guava, or guava paste, rolled up in a bread-like pastry and boiled or steamed in a cloth bag (duff). It’s cut into slices and served with a sauce that is also made from guavas and is usually spiked with rum. While duff is featured in many restaurants, no two versions are exactly alike. Although it resembles a jelly roll, it is not as easy to make. Depending on the recipe, it can take up to two hours to prepare.

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.

“The Bacardi rum cake is very popular,” acknowledges Leslie Knowles, general manager. Knowles says Purity has been producing the cakes for eight years now. “We have three flavours – original, piña colada and Nassau Royale chocolate.” The original is very popular but the chocolate version is “coming up quite strongly,” he says. Other flavours are in the trial and development stage.

While rum cakes make great desserts and treats, they also make ideal gifts or souvenirs.

“It’s a unique product, authentic and the quality is very high,” says Knowles.

While Bacardi rum cake can be enjoyed right from the tin, it can also be served other ways. For example, melt chocolate in a double-boiler and drizzle over the cake; serve warm with vanilla ice cream; serve chilled, drizzled with your favourite rum and topped with fresh whipped cream; serve hot or warm with cold custard.

Rum cake raspberry sauce
1/4 cup sugarcup 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 lime pie
Legend has it that Key lime pie was actually created in The Bahamas, but don’t tell Floridians that. Left is a version made at the popular Café Johnny Canoe.

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.

Pre-bake 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, 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
1-1⁄2 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.

Disclaimer: The information in this article/release was accurate at press time; however, we suggest you confirm all details and prices directly with vendors.
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