I don’t know what it is about tapioca pudding but I just love it. I always have. I have memories of eating it frequently growing up in those little handi-paks (well, and fairly recently too) and memories of trying to make it from scratch at home with disastrous results. Something always burned which made the whole batch taste bad.Well, since I’m cleaning out the pantry and trying to cook away as much as I can so we have less to move, I found a bag of small pearl tapioca that I had used in another failed tapioca attempt (using coconut milk. . . .). I figured I should give tapioca another go before disregarding it altogether and I am very glad that I did!
This concept is a combination of several recipes so I’m just going to list the mutated recipe below. It incorporates the concept of ‘fruit-on-the-bottom-yogurt’ with the creaminess of the tapioca pudding above. I mean, I think it’s fun to dip your spoon in to get as much or as little strawberry puree as you would like! Who doesn’t like an interactive dessert? The strawberry puree is made a little more fun with the addition of some lemon juice and crushed fennel seed. That hint of anise flavor really elevates the puree to something special. I’m glad I gave this tapioca pudding another try because it turned out to be a nice summer dessert!
1/2 c small pearl tapioca (not instant)
2 1/2 c milk (anything from cream to skim milk or any combination)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1. In a bowl, soak tapioca in 2 cups of room temperature water overnight. Drain.
2. In double boiler, heat milk just until no longer cold. Add salt and tapioca. Continue heating until small bubbles appear at sides of pan. Cover, turn heat to very low and cook for one hour. Make sure that milk mixture does not simmer or boil.
3. Separate egg whites from yolks. Beat egg yolks and sugar until light yellow in color. Add a little of the hot mixture to the egg yolks and blend thoroughly. Then add the egg yolk mixture to the hot milk mixture, stirring constantly. Place the double boiler over medium heat and cook until tapioca mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes.
4. Beat egg whites until stiff. Slowly fold the egg whites into the tapioca mixture. Stir in vanilla.
1 quart hulled strawberries
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp fennel seed, crushed
2 tbsp sugar
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until almost smooth. Spoon into six serving dishes. Top with tapioca pudding. Chill. Serve.
Makes 6 servings.