I have to admit, I’m a big fan of the everything-old-is-new-again food trends. You know what I mean—like when restaurants start offering cookies and milk for dessert or their own version of Ho-Hos. It’s silly, but whatever, I’m not immune to the charms of such things.
Now I’m lobbying for another classic to have its day: I’m thinking it’s pudding’s time to shine. Specifically, tapioca pudding, so I offer a new take on the cafeteria favorite: coconut tapioca pudding. I say this knowing full well that there are a lot of detractors to tapioca. I get it. Those little beads can be a freaky, but I think the spark that coconut milk adds might help stem your fears.
I was really surprised at how easy tapioca pudding is to make from scratch, and how creamy, luscious and pretty the results were.
Here’s how I did it:
(See ingredients list at the bottom of this post.)
Step 1: Boil 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Once things get rolling, add tapioca beads and reduce to a simmer. Constant stirring is a must because the tapioca tends to stick to the bottom of the pan. Just keep things moving for about 10 minutes.
If all goes according to plan, your beads will end up looking like this. Notice the plumpness and the white dot in the middle. Once this look and consistency are achieved, turn down the heat to low.
Step 2: Next, I poured a can of coconut milk (Native Forest and Arroy-D are two brands without BPA in their cans) in along with sugar, a vanilla and salt. Continue cooking on low for about 10 minutes—you should be left soft, tender tapioca.
Step 3: Pour it all into a metal bowl or divide into individual cups (I got 6 servings, which makes seemingly small servings, but it’s rich!) and put it in the fridge to chill. It takes a couple of hours to set. We ate ours after about three, and it was a little soupy, but the next day it had a nice, firm-but-not-stiff texture. I think you get better immediate results if you pour into cups instead of a bowl.
Step 4: Now dress it up and make it pretty. I liked the look of it in a wine glass with some chopped strawberries, but you can do lots of other toppings. On Ivy’s Feast, which is where I adapted this recipe from, she used spiced pineapple.
I was also thinking: Nilla Wafers, toasted coconut, kiwis, mangoes, raspberry preserves, or cinnamon apples. Oh, and how delicious would it be melt some dark chocolate into it?
Here’s the full ingredients list:
3 cup water
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons small tapioca pearls (make sure it’s not instant)
1 tbsp. of vanilla (you can use a vanilla bean if you wish)
2/3 cups of sugar
1 can coconut milk (Native Forest and Arroy-D are no BPA)
1/8 tsp. of salt