This corn bread is a poor mans dish that became a Christmas special treat in my house as I was growing up. We did not eat it all year and it was a very special thing to have it at Christmas. Now, there is a town in the Dominican Republic on the way up the mountain, on the way to Jarabacoa that is famous for their arepa. Around 30 years ago there was a lady there that always had it. She had a little stand on the side of the road and we always stopped to get some. Now there are maybe 30 stands and a Harina Mazorca, a Dominican corn meal maker is sponsoring the stands so they are all the same colors with a prominent logo. I hope this is making it so they are all making more money and not that they have too many people making the same thing and not enough clients. This dish is usually cooked in a wood fire. From what I have heard, fire above and below. But seeing that we probably don't have access to that, this recipe meant to be cooked on the stove and then baked in an oven.
AREPA DE MAIZ DOMINICANA - DOMINICAN SWEET CORN & COCONUT BREAD
3 cups corn meal
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons butter
1 can coconut milk or the milk of a fresh coconut (look under coconut milk)
Cinnamon, anise and nutmeg to taste
2 eggs, beaten
Combine all ingredients (except eggs) in a saucepan. Stir constantly and cook until thick (like cream of wheat). Remove from heat and let cool for a while. Add eggs and mix well with a wooden spoon. (Or, you can beat the eggs and add a good big spoon amount of the batter into the eggs. Stir them well and then pour into the batter. You are trying to avoid cooking the eggs and ending up with scrambled eggs in the batter. Pour into a greased baking dish (bread pans, or any shape cake pan will do) and bake in 350°F. oven until golden (about 1 hour). Remove from oven and let cool. When it is completely cool, turn out on rack. This bread will harden more as it cools so you want to wait until it is cool. Slice and serve.