12 July 2012

Tapioca Pudding - Not as Boring as It Sounds!

Tapioca pudding is one of those things you can serve to guests and everyone will say "Ooh, I love tapioca, but I haven't had it in years!" Or "since I was a kid!" I know I get on a kick and make it several times and then forget about it for years until something reminds me. What reminded me this time was a chat with my dear cousin Denise. We were talking about our favorite foods our grandmother made when we were kids. 

Denise recalled Ma (that's what we all called her) having, shall we say, mixed results with her tapioca. One time it would be heavenly, and the next time rather gluey (Denise liked it either way). I thought it odd that Ma would have had difficulty with something so simple, but then I figured it out.

Reading. Ma and her daughters (including Denise's mother and my mother) were addicted to reading, just as we are. Growing up in a very large family in the Lake District (northwest England), her favorite task was making all the beds. Not because she especially liked making beds, but that chore gave her the opportunity to be alone upstairs and get a lot of reading done. Can't do much harm there, but ... stuff happens when you're cooking and you can't put your book down. 

So I imagine on those gluey pudding days, the plot was thickening and so was the tapioca.

Tapioca Pudding

(Makes 3 cups, 4 or 5 servings)

1/3 cup small pearl tapioca
3/4 cup very warm water
2 1/4 cups organic milk (I use 2%)
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large organic eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Garnish: Whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg

1 In heavy 2-quart saucepan, soak tapioca in warm water for 30 minutes. Stir in milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium* heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until thickened, about 15 minutes.

* And I do mean medium. No matter how heavy your saucepan, if you try to hurry it along by cranking up the heat you'll scorch it. Then as you stir, the scorched patch will come off in shreds and be all mixed in with the pudding. Not good. (You may ask, Hmm ... wonder how she knows that? I'll tell you--the same way I know that stuff happens when you're cooking and you can't put your book down!)

2 In 1-quart bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Gradually stir hot mixture into the lightly beaten eggs, then pour into saucepan. Cook, stirring, over low heat for two minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in vanilla. 

3 Cool quickly by setting pan in larger pan or bowl of ice and water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If not cooling quickly, place a round of buttered parchment paper on the surface of the custard to keep a skin from forming, cover pan, and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. 

18 comments:

love2dine said...

Whoa. This looks fabulous.
I do believe my mouth is watering just by looking at it.

Eileen said...

I haven't had tapioca or semolina pudding in years, reminds me of school dinners. Husband hates it and says it reminds him of frogspawn.
I would imagine it is more of a winter pudding but your recipe sounds lovely served with whipped cream and grated nutmeg.

Jean said...

Thanks, love2dine! Hope you'll try it soon.

Jean said...

Eileen, don't listen to your husband (frogspawn, indeed!), have some tapioca! Actually, it's a miracle my husband doesn't say the same thing--he is notorious for texture issues, but for some reason he loves tapioca.

Angie's Recipes said...

It isn't boring at all. On the contrary, it looks so very tempting with beautiful colours and wholesome ingredients.
Have a wonderful weekend, Jean.

Angie

Jean said...

Thanks, Angie! Wish I had some today, but I'm out of milk.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

TAPIOCA! Obviously a wonderful word misapplied. It should be a song, or a salutation shouted before a round of drinks, or – yes, yes – a dance! Tap-tap-tapioca! A tap dance. A food? Not so much. Glue, you say, maybe. Love your detective work, however. Your grandmother has been outed. ‘Scuse me now while I go invent a dance that is a cross between tap and polka. I think I'll call it… (oh, I can't say it).

Jean said...

Yep, I hated to out her, but ... glue is glue. And you're right, it IS a great name for a dance or a festive salutation!

Richard Sheppard said...

I LOVE tapioca pudding! It's not boring to me at all. Yes, it's been a couple of years since I made it but that's only because I can't stop eating it once I make it. I like it still slightly warm and ohhh, so good!

Jean said...

And you don't HAVE to stop eating it - MY recipe has the minimal amount of sugar, and that makes it health food!

Charles said...

Love semolina, but I haven't had tapioca in AGES! I think the last time I had it was in some bizarre drink in China. Hrm, I don't even know what it's called in French. I'm gonna look it up so I can revisit my childhood :D

Love the look of the little blueberries on top :)

Jean said...

Thanks, Charles! Yes, it's time to have some tapioca (I don't know the French word for it either).

Lisa @ The Cooking Bride said...

My husband, parents, and I were just talking about tapioca last weekend. My husband has NEVER had it! I'll have to make this for him so he can give it a try.

Jean said...

How funny! I was just talking to my sister-in-law. She saw the post and said, "Looks delicious. Wonder if I'd like it. I've never had tapioca." (And she's a lot older than your husband!)

Mary said...

LOL! "the plot was thickening and so was the tapioca" I can relate. Cookies tend to get a whole lot darker when the plot thickens around here!

Jean said...

Mary, thank you! I'm so glad somebody noticed that line! Isn't it wonderful to be one of those people who can be so enthralled with books? I've always felt bad for people who don't love reading.

Melanie said...

Tapioca was one of those desserts that everyone in our family loved; my mom would have to double the batch. Yours looks super delicious! (And I like the idea of the blueberry accompaniment! We just picked a gazillion blueberries this past weekend.)

Jean said...

Thanks, Melanie! I envy people who can pick their own berries--blue, black and raspberries are so expensive most of the time.

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