Fruit Tapioca Pudding
This is an update from the Macheesmo Archives.
If you’re wondering what approximately eight years of photographing recipes each week will get you, here’s the photo exact same recipe I made eight years ago.
If you pop into my pantry on any given day you will almost certainly find a bag of dried tapioca. For one, I love making pudding, but secondly, you only need a small amount of it to make pudding. So, if you want to make homemade tapioca, you’ll inevitably be left with a bag of the stuff. It’s like popcorn.
Obviously, it’s important to get really ripe fruit for this Fruit Tapioca Pudding. Makes all the difference in the world. Also, the original recipe called for some pesky amount of fruit. I think I almost quadrupled the amount of fruit it called for because I wanted more fruit than tapioca.
1) Depending on the tapioca you purchase, your cooking instructions might vary, so cook the tapioca according to the instructions on your packaging.
2) Most likely, this will include beating your egg whites and sugar together until they form stiff peaks. You can either do this with a stand mixer or your hands and a whisk. It’s hard work by hand.
3) Soak the tapioca in cold water and then add the milk and egg yolks. Simmer over very low heat, stirring constantly. Once your tapioca is simmering and thick (again, consult your packaging for times), take it off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then fold 1 Cup of cooked tapioca into your egg white mixture. Be gentle.
4) Then fold the tempered egg white mixture back into the main tapioca. If you don’t beat your egg whites long enough or let your tapioca cool (it should be warm to the touch but not hot), then your pudding won’t firm up enough.
5) Let your pudding cool for a bit in the fridge. It should be at least room temperature.
6) Chop all your fruit up into bite-sized pieces.
7) Fold the fruit into the pudding and serve! Again, be gentle when you’re folding your fruit in. Tapioca is a delicate thing. Enjoy!
Making the Tapioca
I think tapioca falls into the camp of love it or hate it for most people. I happen to be in the love it camp, but I know some people who can’t stand the stuff. It’s understandable I guess. I think in most cases it’s a texture issue that people don’t like.
For this recipe, I thought that the soft, jelly texture of the tapioca actually worked well with the bright fruit flavors.
I’ve made tapioca twice in my life before I first tried this recipe. The first time was a disaster of beyond-postable proportions. These days though I make it frequently and it becomes easy to toss together.
Depending on the type of tapioca you get, your cooking times and instructions will vary pretty largely so just be sure to check your packaging for instructions. It will look like an absurdly small amount of tapioca-to-liquid ratio, but have no fear that the little starch balls will do their thing and absorb it all.
So follow the instructions which will most likely include soaking the tapioca for a set amount of time in water and then slowly simmering it in milk and vanilla and egg yolks.
Once you mix in your milk and eggs, your tapioca will disappear. So much liquid!
But have no fear, once it simmers for a few minutes over VERY low heat, it’ll be creamy and delicious.
Also, you’ll have to whip together the egg whites and sugar. Mixing this in with the tapioca after it cooks gives the final pudding some volume and sweetness.
I’ve whipped the egg whites by hand and let me warn you, while it is totally doable to do this, it’s a lot of work. You’re supposed to whip until the egg whites form soft peaks and if you do it by hand you’ll be tempted to stop short.
This is what you want though:
Finishing the Tapioca
Mixing the egg whites into the hot tapioca can be tricky, but just remember to add some of the hot tapioca to the egg whites first to bring it up to temperature and then slowly fold the egg whites into the tapioca base.
It was interesting to taste the tapioca before blending in the egg whites because they were not sweet at all. In fact, it had almost a creamy/bitter flavor to it. Not exactly what I’d call tasty. Luckily, the egg whites (with the sugar) will give it just the right amount of sweetness.
Pudding done! Before adding in your fruit, let your pudding cool to at least room temperature if not for a few hours in the fridge.
Prepping the Fruit
The tapioca takes some time to cook and cool so you can definitely prep all your fruit while you’re waiting for it to do one of those things. Feel free to experiment with the fruit based on what looks good at your market. I used a mix of mangos, cherries, and blueberries that looked especially delicious.
Of course, the mangoes are the most fun thing to cut because you get to do this to them! (For a full tutorial on the mango cutting, check out this post.)
Once your pudding is done and your fruit is chopped, just stir them both together! I actually recommend layering the fruit on top so you get kind of a parfait effect.
1) Make sure you don’t wuss out and actually beat your egg whites until they form soft peaks.
2) Make sure you cook your tapioca at least as long as the package says and maybe even a few minutes longer if it still looks runny.
Of course, there’s one thing that both of these problems has in common: Patience. That will get you a perfect Fruit Tapioca Pudding!