Recipe courtesy of Brigitte Malivert

Pain Patate

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
This sweet potato pudding is a classic Haitian dessert that doesn’t have French roots. Aside from communions, Haitian culture is not particularly cake-centric; this is one of the desserts that you will reliably find at most festivities. It’s made with tropical batatas, which are white-fleshed relatives of sweet potatoes. Each family has a variation of pain patate – this one is a combination of my paternal grandma’s and my mother’s traditional versions. The recipe is customizable to your taste. If you prefer a warmer flavor, add more ginger and nutmeg. If you don’t like raisins, try another tart dried fruit. Or feel free to bake it with bananas like an upside-down cake.



  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch square baking dish with butter or nonstick spray. Combine the batatas, ginger and lime zest in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat the whole milk with the grated coconut in a small saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear on the surface of the milk, about 4 minutes; remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes (or 15 minutes if using dried coconut).
  3. Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve into the medium bowl; discard the grated coconut. Add the evaporated milk, brown sugar, cane syrup (if using), vanilla, rum (if using), cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Stir everything together. Put the mix in a medium pot and heat over low heat, stirring constantly in one direction to prevent curdling. Keep cooking until golden brown and most of the milk has cooked off, about 10 minutes. Fold in the raisins.
  4. Pour your batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake until the top of the pain patate has formed a crust, about 30 minutes. Allow the pain patate to cool before serving.

Cook’s Note

The pain patate eats better the next day. Feel free to soak the raisins in rum or add a splash to the batter for a more full flavor. Enjoy the pain patate with whipped cream with lime zest for some acid or a rum-based cocktail. Or simply warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.