Recipe for a Bermuda Christmas

Posted: December 23, 2011 in Bermuda
Tags: , ,

Making cassava pie is a Bermudian Christmas tradition. For the uninitiated, it’s a cholesterol-laden savoury-sweet dish made from grated cassava root with a cake-like texture and chicken or pork in the middle, and served as a sidedish with Christmas dinner.

Bermudians take their cassava pies as seriously as kite flying, fishcakes and black rum, and every family and restaurant has its own recipe. There’s even a Bermuda Cassava Pie Club on Facebook.

I’ve been refining my version down the years from a variety of sources and after I posted a photo of this year’s effort on Facebook, several people asked for my recipe, so here it is.

I like my cassava moist and less “cakey” with chicken, not pork, so feel free to tweak to your taste! This recipe will easily feed 12 people.

Cedar House Cassava Pie

Ingredients:

  • 6lbs grated Bermuda cassava
  • ½ lb unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 large eggs
  • ½ lb light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp each vanilla, cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2.5 lbs skinned, cooked chicken thighs (cut into small chunks, not shredded)
  • 2 pinches of thyme
  • ½ cup milk or soy milk

Directions:

  1. Boil chicken pieces until just cooked in lightly salted water with thyme. Strain liquid and retain for stock. Cut chicken into small chunks.
  2. Heat oven to 325°.
  3. Drain cassava, squeeze out extra liquid by wrapping in cheesecloth or tea towel. Cassava should crumble in your fingers but still be moist.
  4. Cream sugar and butter together.
  5. Place cassava in large bowl and add sugar/butter mixture, eggs, milk, salt and spices. Mix thoroughly with wooden spoon to make dough.
  6. Place about a third of dough on bottom of well-greased deep 9×13 foil pan (use Crisco or Pam Baking spray).
  7. Spread chicken pieces evenly over dough (leave about a thumb-sized gap around edges). Pour one cup of stock over chicken. Cover with remaining dough.
  8. Brush with some melted butter and throw in the oven for 3 hours. Best eaten warm from the oven but can be made a few days in advance, cut up and frozen until needed. [Lightly fry leftovers with some back bacon for Boxing Day breakfast. Make appointment to get cholesterol checked.]

Nutritional information:

Fat: off the chart
Calories: don’t ask!

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Comments
  1. Dan Buffone says:

    Christmas time again. All the childhood memories. I have family from the Island and spent nearly two years of my life as a child on Bermuda. Some of my fondest memories are of the hot cassava pies my mother would bake for Christmas. It has been so very long,but the unique flavor is still in my mind as I write this.
    I told my wife that I wished to purchase some cassava root online and bake my own pie. I can’t wait! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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