Yucca Pie

In the poorer regions of Honduras yucca root is one of their staple crops. It grows anywhere, leached out soil, muddy river banks even in sand. It’s a lifesaver to those living on land where nothing else will grow. As well, it need not be germinated from seed; merely plant a stalk or branch from another bush and roots will start to grow. Amazing plant.

Alas, yucca on its own fails to be a gustatory treat. In soups or boiled and served with a sauce of some sort it is OK, like a highly glutinous potato. It takes a bit of creativity and savvy to whip up anything special where the main ingredient is yucca. So, check out this desert recipe.

Our good friend Dona Elma Bodden hails from a Miskito Indian village Raista, on the inner shores of Laguna Ibans in the Mosquito Coast region. Her kitchen is locally renowned. The tourists who come to tour the Raista Butterfly Farm, the staff of the NGO Mopawi (internationally funded non-profit group that helps with local development projects in indigenous communities) and a few locals all dine there regularly. I asked what sort of “cuisine” could possibly be made with yucca and she delivered. This is a variation on pumpkin pie, dense, sweet, chewy and wonderfully flavored.

1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups grated yucca
2 sticks margarine or butter
2 cups coconut milk
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup of coffee
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt

Topping for pie:
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup powdered milk
1/2--3/4 cup water

Combine flour, salt and baking power. Cream butter and sugar, add spices, coconut milk, coffee. Mix in dry ingredients. Pour into greased, floured baking pan and bake in a 375 degree oven until solidifies and turns golden brown on top.

For the topping, melt butter, add sugar, powdered milk and water. Hydrogenate by stirring while heating. Cook until thickens. Pour over top of pie.

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