Jamaican Easter Bun – Jamaican Sweet Bread is a wonderful way to start the day on Easter morning. Enjoy it as they would in the Caribbean with cheese and tea.
Caribbean people love sweet breads. Every holiday from Christmas to Easter and birthdays – really any kind of celebration and there comes the sweet bread. While this version of Coconut Sweet Bread is ubiquitous throughout the islands, each island also has at least one additional version that is unique to the island. This is why I get so mad when people lump all Caribbean food into the same bucket. We each have our own distinct culture and cuisine, not to mention sometimes different languages as well.
Don’t get me started on the after school program I was once teaching and the guide book had the recipe of Jerk Fish for Haiti, when foods seasoned with Jerk seasoning ONLY occurs in Jamaica.
This Easter Bun is one of these sweets that is uniquely Jamaican. There are both yeast versions and ones without yeast. When made without yeast, Guinness is used to still provide the same tang of yeast.
So what do we eat our sweet breads with? Bet you can’t guess!
Cheese! Don’t know why or when this custom developed but sweet bread is eaten with cheese in the Caribbean. Most of the Caribbean uses a generic Cheddar like cheese. It’s usually the only cheese available, except in the Dutch Caribbean (Aruba, Curacao, etic.) where Edam or Gouda is more common. As Dutch colonies, they have a more diverse cheese culture.
There are some uniquely Caribbean products used in this sweet bread.
- Guava Jelly – Guava Jelly/Jam is the most common jam in the Caribbean. It is the most popular filling for cakes and is used in many of our pastries. Any Caribbean supermarket will carry it and it can also be ordered from online sources. However, if it seems a little more trouble than its worth, you can easily substitute with Strawberry Jam.
- Browning – Browning is basically burnt sugar. It is a thick liquid ingredient used in both Caribbean sweet and savory foods for both taste and color. The closest substitute would be molasses, although molasses does have a stronger taste. Look for browning at your local Caribbean supermarket. It is also finding its way into many international aisles in standard supermarkets here in America.
- Guinness – Stout beer is very common in the Caribbean and especially in Jamaica. It comes from a history of British colonization. Not only do we drink it, but it finds it’s way into many of our sweet foods. It provides that slight tang of a yeasty flavor.
Other Sweet & Savory Caribbean Foods
- Coconut Roll
- Coconut Sweet Bread
- Jamaican Cornmeal Pudding
- Haitian Pate
- Breadfruit Puffs
- Spinach Phulourie
So run to your local Caribbean or International market for the supplies and whip this up in time for your Easter morning breakfast with cheese and tea.
Ready to make this recipe? Tag me on Instagram @chefmireille #theschizochef with your Jamaican Easter Bun pics!
Jamaican Easter Bun – Jamaican Sweet Bread
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 ½ cups Guinness
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 teaspoons browning
- 2 tablespoons guava jelly
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 ½ cups white wheat flour or all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground mace
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ cup tutti frutti candied fruit
- ½ cup raisins
- glace cherries garnish
- Topping Ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a loaf pan with non stick spray.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, nutmeg, mace, ginger, clove, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Stir to combine.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, Guinness, wine, browning, guava jelly, vanilla extract and egg. Beat well.
- Add sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved.
- Add flour combination in 2 batches, beating well after each addition.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the tutti frutti and the raisins.
- Transfer to prepared loaf pan.
- Decorate the top with the glace cherries.
- Bake for 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and water together.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the top with the sugar water.
- Bake for another 15 minutes, until a tester inserted comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
- Serve with cheese and tea.