Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tapioca Pudding: When You Want Frogs Eyes in Your Pudding

So whenever I ask the boys what I should bake next, Joe always suggests something weird and elaborate and BJ inevitably asks for pudding, specifically pistachio or tapioca. I've never had pistachio pudding in my life, it's usually a frightening shade of neon green that I don't trust. I do like tapioca pudding but then the question was raised: just exactly where do you buy tapioca pearls?

The last time I was grocery shopping, I was perusing the baking aisle and stumbled upon a bag of tapioca pearls, just like that. I was expected I would have to look for them at a speciality store or Whole Foods or something but no, this was just in some random grocery store next to instant Jell-O pudding.

So I did some research and whipped some up last weekend when bored. I'm glad I read about it because it turns out you first have to soak the tapioca pearls and then cook them in the pudding to make them edible. The package said to soak them overnight but I soaked them for about an hour with no problems. Delayed gratification is not my strong point.

I was really happy with how this turned out, considering I've never played with tapioca before. I did use non-dairy milk and homemade vanilla extract and I think it would be loads better with vanilla bean or regular vanilla extract. You see, our 'homemade' vanilla is rum soaked with a vanilla bean but it really just tastes overwhelmingly like rum. Especially since Joe has been refilling it with Bacardi 151, which I think may not actually be alcohol but paint thinner. Usually it works okay in baked goods but in something where the vanilla flavor is so pronounced, this didn't cut it. It ended up being more of a rum flavored pudding than a vanilla pudding. And the non-dairy milk worked fine but Joe thought it could be more creamy. 

In any case, BJ and I ate it all fairly quickly and I would make it again. I probably will have to, what else do you do with a bag of tapioca pearls?

Recipe can be found here. I followed pretty much to a T, except I added 1/2 cup tapioca pearls instead 1/3 cup (when in Rome...) and use So Delicious brand coconut milk instead of milk. 

Busy baking week this week! I promised to make goodies for people on Wednesday and I have to finish the month's Daring Baker challenge by next Sunday. Plus I should really start studying for finals, which means baking procrastination starts to look really attractive.


alaskagrrrL said...

You can, hoppah o mine, use those pearls in a few asian soups and bubble tea! So get on it, I want to see how Joe and BJ react to those items!
Yo Momoma

Katy said...

I love tapioca as well, though we usually buy the "instant" (not really instant but it doesn't require the overnight soaking).

I always thought tapioca looked like roe or poly wog eggs, but yeah, frogs eyes work too. LOL Took me a long time to try tapioca because of that, but it IS good.

What is bubble tea? I'm fascinated.

elevensies said...

Motha -- The pearls are pretty small, they would make an odd bubble tea, me thinks. I could sneak them in soup but the boys would shun me for eternity.

Katy -- You MUST have bubble tea. It's basically a smoothie with huge tapioca pearls in it, like this:

They're popular in Asia but you can get them in the US now too. Try taro bubble tea if you get the chance, it tastes strangely like cookies and cream, mmmm.

elevensies said...

Oh and apparently I'm logged in under Joe's name, fabulous!


alaskagrrrL said...

Thank God its you! I thought Joe was calling me "MOTHA"! Aieeeeeee!
Mother of No One Named Joe

PS Perhaps you can tackle bubble tea (with the right sized pearls) for the amusement of your readers... :)

Katy ~ said...

I would be greatly amused if you would try the bubble tea. I have instant tapioca in my cabinet but don't feel like pudding. :p

Thanks for the link! I'll defintely follow it up. The whole idea has caught my attention.

Katy ~ said...

Aaaah, I followed up on this. We do not have pearl tapicoa here in my podunk "city." We barely have a Taco Bell and a Wal Mart. So, the bubble tea will have to wait. I am sad.