Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Food Desert Project: Chocolate Sweet-Potato Pudding

I've long wanted to work canned sweet potatoes into this project, because on a good day they are a terrific source of nutrition - but unfortunately, the only kind of canned sweet potatoes available in the food desert are likely to be those in heavy syrup.  They're a dessert, not a vegetable.

Suddenly, I realized that was the answer: a sweet potato dessert.  One that doesn't depend on adding lots of sugar in the form of syrup or marshmallows or streusel.  I did a bit of trolling around the internets, and came upon this simple and delicious idea: a chocolate pudding using sweet potato as the thickened base.  Since we're using canned sweet potatoes, this recipe comes together in seconds in the food processor or blender.

I should add here: I am not a fan of "hiding" vegetables in desserts; when I serve this to Sparky, I'm going to tell him exactly what's in it.  Vegetables don't make desserts any healthier, or any less dessert, and what's worse, they don't help kids learn to like vegetables.  Therefore - this pudding exists only because it's a good, quick, dessert - not because we have any illusions that it's any better than any other dessert.


1 15-oz can sweet potatoes in syrup, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup milk (omit if using plain unstrained yogurt)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup strained plain Greek-style yogurt (or omit milk and use a half-cup plain yogurt.)

003 Whip the drained sweet potatoes with the milk (or half the yogurt) and vanilla in the food processor.  Put them in a microwave-safe dish with the chocolate chips and heat on high in 30-second increments until the chips begin to melt (they will hold their shape but turn glossy.)


Stir in the chips to ensure they are thorougly melted, then return the mixture to the food processor.  Add the cocoa powder and pulse until smooth.


Add the (remaining) yogurt and mix until completely incorporated.

Pour into ramekins and chill.  Serve with a swirl of yogurt on the top.


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