Tapioca pudding is one of those things you can serve to guests and everyone will say "Ooh, I love tapioca, but I haven't had it in years!" Or "since I was a kid!" It is an ideal dessert or snack for kids because it can be made with all wholesome ingredients and just a little sugar.
Allergic to milk? Make it with your favorite non-dairy milk. Allergic to eggs? Leave them out. Chill a batch in a 1-quart bowl or, for grab-and-go snacks, in 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins. Your family might like it so well you'll want to make a double batch next time.
Makes 3 cups, 4 or 5 servings
1/3 cup small pearl tapioca
3/4 cup very warm water or milk
2 1/4 cups milk (I use 2%)
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Garnish: Whipped cream or fruit and freshly grated nutmeg
1. In heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, soak tapioca in warm water or milk for 30 to 60 minutes. Stir in milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remember, no matter how heavy your saucepan, if you try to hurry things along by cranking up the heat you'll scorch the pudding.
2. In 1-quart bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Gradually stir hot mixture into the lightly beaten eggs, then pour into saucepan. Cook, stirring, over low heat for two minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in vanilla.
3. Cool quickly by setting pan in larger pan or bowl of ice and water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If not cooling quickly, place a round of buttered parchment paper on the surface of the custard to keep a skin from forming, cover pan, and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.