Quick, before the last strawberry is gone from the shelves!
This delicious, and unusual dessert is made from the two crops for which the Constanza region is best known: strawberries and potatoes. The idea came after an email asking if I had any “gluten-free” recipes inspired me to make one that was entirely free of wheat. Gluten-free, and many other dietary restrictions, is not something I have addressed before.
During the 11 years that I have been writing recipes and about food I have noticed a significant increase in awareness of several food-related allergies and diseases. From deadly peanut allergies to celiac disease. In my case, finding out about lactose intolerance turned out to be life-changing. Amazing, since latinos are one of the populations most as risk for it, it is hardly known here.
What is happening? Are these conditions becoming more prevalent? Are they now better known and thus easier to diagnose? Or are we simply over-diagnosing them? My (very uninformed) money is on the second.
“Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.” [Source]
Celiac disease is nothing new. It was already described by a Greek physician over 2000 years ago. Modern diagnostics have made possible to detect the presence of the condition.
I am not in the business of giving medical advice, but I like cooking, and most of all, I love challenges. A trip to Constanza a couple of months back sent me home loaded with strawberries and ideas. This is not the only potato-based dessert out there, but I wanted one that combined these two ingredients. I have to say that it worked, it was delicious and light.
I frankly haven’t personally met any sufferer of celiac disease, at least not to my knowledge, but in the end good food is good food, whether be it gluten-free, vegan, light or whatever. I am always trying to bring ideas to my readers, from how to adapt some of our traditional recipes to make them vegan, lactose intolerant-friendly, healthier, etc. Everybody deserves a good meal.
Aren’t those strawberry fields amazing?
Again, if you have never been to Constanza, do so, get out of the typical vacation of sun and white sands beaches (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and see a side of the Caribbean that you’ll see nowhere else. You will not regret it.
- 2 doz. strawberries, washed
- ½ cup of sugar
- 1 vanilla pod or 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 3 cups of boiled and mashed potatoes (1 lb [0.48 kg] aprox)
- 2 small or medium eggs
- ¼ cup of milk
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- ¼ cup of butter at room temperature
- 1 cup of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- Remove the stems from the strawberries. Cut the strawberries into quarters.
- Place in a deep-bottom pot. Using a potato masher crush the strawberries.
- Add sugar and vanilla extract or vanilla seeds.
- Cook over very low heat until it has the consistency of jam. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
- Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Heat oven to 300 ºF (150º C)
- Pass the mashed potatoes through a potato ricer. There should be no lumps.
- Mix the mashed potatoes with eggs, milk, baking soda, butter, sugar and salt.
- Whisk until it is well-mixed.
- Place into self-standing paper cups or ramekins.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until they get golden brown on top.
- Take out of the oven. They will quickly deflate (don't worry!). Fill the hollow space with the strawberry jam.
- Serve at room temperature.