A Mystery Ingredient Spells Comfort
Tapioca pudding offers a creamy, textural wonder
I enjoyed tapioca pudding so much as a child, yet never wondering what this exotic root was doing as a dessert. Now I grow “cassava” in my garden. It’s a beauty to look at, too. Tapioca is a thickening agent in flour form. As a pudding you want to buy the pearls, the smallest pearls are best. I tweaked a box recipe many times to get this balance of texture, creaminess, and just a slight sweetness. It mates well with many toppings- use your imagination! I love to dab a spoon of jam or marmalade and sprinkle with nuts.
I’m a lover of cardamom and it beautifully spices this dessert. Consider any of the other “cookie” spices: allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or a blend. Coconut milk offers an additional creamy factor when serving tapioca pudding cold.
- coconut milk- 2 cups, [one can]
- half ’n’ half- 1 cup, [or 3 cups total of a full fat beverage]
- salt- 1/4 tsp.
- tapioca pearls- 2/3 cup, small granules [not powder]
- sugar- 2 TBS., or to taste
- vanilla- 1 tsp.
- raisins- 1/4 cup, [opt.]
- cardamom- 1/2 tsp ground (opt.)
- Combine liquids, tapioca, and salt in a 1-1/2 qt. pot. Let stand for 30 minutes, then bring to a simmer and cook for 13-15 minutes stirring occasionally, until tapioca is fully translucent.
- Off heat stir in the sugar, vanilla, and cardamom. Thoroughly stir or use whisk to break up any lumps of tapioca.
- Cool and then refrigerate. Whisk before serving.
- Marmalade or jam
- chopped nuts
- fresh or dried fruit, or use as a topping on other desserts
- candied ginger, minced