Old-Fashioned Cooking: Tapioca Pudding

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In this modern-day-take-it-out-of-the-freezer-and shove-it-in-the-microwave world, we often lose sight of what real food tastes like. Not too surprising, when you look at the ingredient lists on most prepared foods. I figure if you can’t even pronounce half the ingredients, you shouldn’t rely on it as a major food source. Many so-called foods have more chemicals than food ingredients. Just think about beef stew or chili simmering slowly through the day, ready to warm the cockles of your heart – not to mention your cold hands – come dinner time. Or home-made breakfast burritos or Cornish pasties, stored in the freezer for those mornings when you can barely find the kitchen, let alone think up a menu.

Tapioca pudding is a good example of what real food tastes like. Very simple, easy and fast, tapioca pudding made with raw milk, real cream and fresh ranch eggs is so far from that glutinous stuff on buffet restaurant tables as to be a different food family. Eat it plain, dress it up with sliced fresh fruit or home-made chocolate sauce and you have a dessert fit for a king – or queen. And if (as my husband does) you just plain love the stuff, you can tell the small fry it’s made from fish eyes and keep it all to yourself!

Tapioca Pudding

1/3 cup sugar

3 Tbs tapioca

2 ¾ cups milk (can be up to half cream)

1 well-beaten egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients except vanilla in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Let stand five minutes. Cook on medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY (ignore this at your peril and wind up with scorched pudding), until it comes to a full boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool at least 20 minutes, stir once more. Refrigerate.

If you want to be really old-fashioned, you can scrape a vanilla bean into the milk and let it stand for about 10 minutes before you add it to the saucepan. For chocolate pudding, increase sugar to ½ cup, milk to 3 cups and add 3 ounces of chopped chocolate to saucepan before cooking. If you’re in a hurry and willing to pay very close attention, you can start it on high (only if you have a good heavy saucepan – thin ones will let it scorch) and turn it to medium when it starts to get hot, stirring all the while. If you’re going to do this, don’t try to do anything else. Boiled-over tapioca pudding makes a terrible mess of the stovetop, especially on electric burners.

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6 Responses to Old-Fashioned Cooking: Tapioca Pudding

  1. Tapioca The natural source for tapioca is the root of the cassava (also known as manioc, yuca) plant BUT tapioca does not occur naturally. It requires (man-made) processing. There are many forms of processed tapioca: flakes, seeds & pearls. Tapioca has traditionally been considered a healthy food because this form of starch is easy to digest. In 19th century America, tapioca pudding was often prescribed for the young, old and infirm. Arrowroot was a similar product.

  2. Oh My !! This was such a wonderful tasting pudding. I have my own recipe for tapioca pudding but due to time restraints and lack of a few ingredients I thought I would try this one. I am so happy I did. I had used tri-colored pearl tapioca (the pic does not due it justice) as well I used whole milk and simmered for about an hour and it was the right consistency and tender tapioca. I really wished I was at home so I could of used my vanilla paste instead of just the vanilla extract…this really would of brought out a much richer flavor. But will do this the next time when I do make it at my own home. The flavor really came together after sitting in the fridge overnight, it thickened up just perfectly. Just remember to stir it well before serving and adding a sprinkle of the cinnamon really brought out a nice sweet flavor. I had given a few small containers to some of my friends who love this kind of pudding and they really loved this one. So thanks for sharing a great recipe TommyGato.

  3. Jenny says:

    My husband’s favorite. I recently found plain tapioca at Sprout’s Market and now he can have it whenever he wants, cute little fella.

  4. Growing up, tapioca pudding was the only dessert my dad had up his sleeve, and lucky for me, it was always delicious. On Sunday nights after dinner he’d disappear into the kitchen for a while and return with steaming bowls of vanilla-flecked pudding for my brothers and me. Little did we know how easy it was to make. Simply soak tapioca pearls in milk, then gently simmer the mixture with egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla seeds until it’s thick, with soft but pleasantly chewy tapioca bits.

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