Two-Step Tapioca Pudding

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Now seeing a comeback in popularity, this old-time comfort dessert was “invented” by a Boston housewife in 1894. Making it is so simple—just combine ingredients and let stand 5 minutes, then cook on top of the stove or in the microwave. This version uses egg yolks instead of whole egg; egg yolks are less temperamental to hot temperature and produce a richer flavor. Another plus for those who are gluten intolerant: tapioca is gluten free.

1/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

Dash salt

2-3/4 cups whole milk

2 egg yolks, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fresh berries, for garnish.

1. Combine sugar, tapioca, salt, milk, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes.

2. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil (212 degrees F.). (Mixture will be thin; it will thicken on cooling.) Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cover surface with clear plastic wrap. Cool 30 minutes; stir. Spoon into serving dishes. Serve warm or chilled, garnished with fresh berries, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

To prepare in the microwave: Combine ingredients as directed in step 1 in a large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes; stir. Continue cooking 6 to 8 minutes more, stirring every 2 minutes. Cool as directed in step 2.

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