Monday, March 10, 2014

Tapioca Pudding for Lunch on a Wintery Saturday

The weather has been changing constantly lately.  I can hardly believe it was just Saturday that we woke up to still more snow, the morning light sparkling over a blanket of fresh white powder.  When I woke up and looked outside, the sun just rising, the morning beckoned me to come outside for a walk and capture its beauty.  So I pulled on my boots and coat and grabbed my camera.

It was cold and quiet, with the occasional flutter of a bird's wings breaking the silence.  The footprints of rabbits were the only evidence of anyone or anything else being up yet and I felt like the only person awake.

I sat on a snow-covered bench and the cold started to seep through my clothes and chill my skin, so I headed back inside and climbed into bed, underneath the warm covers.  Jamie said I was too cold and tried to resist my attempt to curl up close to him.

I've been thinking about tapioca pudding lately, and remembering how much I loved it when I was young.  I believed for years that it was made from fish eyeballs, which only increased its appeal to me as a child.

Tapioca seems to be little more than an afterthought, a handful added here and there to thicken a fruit pie, but rarely considered on its own as the main ingredient.  So I bought a bag of small pearl tapioca and put it away until the time was right; a cold snowy morning seemed like the perfect day for pudding.

After soaking the tapioca in milk for a little bit, I added pure maple syrup for sweetener, egg yolks, vanilla bean and nutmeg - everything is better with nutmeg - and cooked it until it was thick and the pearls were soft and translucent.  I topped cups of the still-warm pudding with blueberries and toasted pecans, and we ate tapioca pudding for lunch.

The snow melted all too soon, though, and the weather turned so warm on Sunday that it felt like spring.  Jamie spent the afternoon in the garage, working on the audio build for his car, and when he came upstairs, his kisses tasted like power tools and sawdust.

And as much as I love the spring weather, I found myself wishing that the snow Saturday had lasted just a little bit longer.

One Year Ago:   Fruit and Nut Butter Smoothies
Two Years AgoCoconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Tapioca Pudding with Blueberries and Toasted Pecans

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups frozen organic blueberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans

In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of the milk with the tapioca; let soak for one hour.

Whisk in the remaining 2 cups milk, maple syrup, egg yolks, vanilla bean paste and nutmeg.  Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to keep it from scorching; this will take about 15 minutes and the pudding will start to thicken.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and continue to cook, stirring constantly until the tapioca is plump with a translucent appearance and cooked through (it should taste soft, not chewy); this will take about 12-15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cover with a lid.

Place the blueberries in a microwaveable bowl and thaw in the microwave for 3-4 minutes at 70% power until warm and the juices release.

Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast in a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes until fragrant, then roughly chop the pecans.

Spoon the warm tapioca into bowls and top with the blueberries and pecans.  Grate a little more nutmeg over the top.

Many variations are possible with this recipe - try cooking the tapioca in unsweetened coconut milk with some toasted coconut and cinnamon sprinkled over the top, or add some natural almond butter, almond extract and brown sugar, other berries or fruits instead of blueberries, etc.

Yields about 4 servings

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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