Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recipe - Tapioca Pudding

God, Christmas has come and gone... the new year has also come and gone, not to mention it's already week 2 of it already! At the end of last year I gave my bosses a bit more then a week vacation from it all and did opening to closing shifts for something like 11days. I'm sad to say though after all of that, I decided that all the ups and downs, all of the stress and all of the problems that came with the job, I quit after 1year of working for them.

They are great people and need good help, I hope they get the help that is so very much needed but I have given them so much of myself, my time and my family's time that I just needed to say enough. I've already begun changing things around here at home with spending time with my mother the first weekend I quit, I've *FINALLY* gotten to washing every dish that was dirty in my kitchen and now this week I have treated myself (and my home) to one of those wonderful new kitchen robot/helper machines. The only thing this one is missing is a food processor attachment. But that is for another entry! Today I bring to you another happy recipe.

This is for vanilla flavored tapioca pudding. I remember this kind of pudding from the days of my childhood. The creamy richness to it while every bite held these tiny little bubble type pieces. I loved it and I missed it. I miss other puddings too but I will get around to trying some more later such as butterscotch just to name the next one on my list.

Tip - If you want to make a lighter/fluffier version of this instead of the rich version below then you will simply want to altar your egg addition a bit. Instead of adding the whole egg at once, separate the egg yolks from the whites. Add the yolks in the way mentioned below and cook the mixture through. When finished cooking, beat the egg whites into soft peaks and fold them into your pudding mixture softly but off of the heat. The heat from the mixture itself is hot enough to cook the eggs whites but not so hot that it will remove the air from them that will cause your pudding to now be quite light compared to the original version.

 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca
 ♥ 3 cups reduced/low fat milk (lactose free works just fine too)
 ♥ 2 eggs
 1/2 cup granulated sugar
 ♥ 1 tsp vanilla extract
 ♥ 1/4 tsp salt (optional)

Tapioca - What is this?? Not a lot of people, especially first time gluten free people seem to understand what all the different starches are out there. This beauty will often present itself in a pearl format from really tiny to rather large (from the size shown in this recipe to pea sized and even sometimes larger). While you can also buy this as a flour base, the pearl form is mostly found. I'm not going to go into where it's from or what plant ect but it is gluten free, just remember to read your labels to ensure the brand you are buying is not made in a factory or has the chance to contain gluten.

This recipe is fairly simply but a bit time consuming as you will have to be around the stove top for the entire time or your risk the chance of scorching or even burning the mixture due to the amount of milk used in it. So I say this, have patience... it's well worth it when you have this wonderful pot of warm rich thick pudding to eat as the end result!
In a medium sized pot, mix together tapioca pearls and milk over a low heat. With a whisk always at hand, make sure you stir this mixture as often as you can. In the very beginning this is not needed as you begin to slowly heat the mixture but as you start to get heat into it, you will need to make sure that you are always moving the milk at the bottom of the pan in order to avoid the scorching or burning that can happen all too often milk. If you choose to add the salt, this is the stage to do it also but I do not see the need for salt in most things so I don't add it at all. Cook the mixture while stirring as much as your wrist allows you to until you see the little pearls of tapioca start to float and thicken the mix.

When you have this mixture at a very very slow boil, beat both eggs in a separate heat resistant bowl. Add about a 1/2 cup of the hot milk/tapioca mixture to the eggs VERY slowly while whisking the eggs the entire time. This process is tempering the eggs in order to avoid them from scrambling or curdling. Use the same process to add the now hot egg/milk/tapioca mixture back to the rest of the milk/tapioca mixture. Bring it back to it's VERY slow boil and now keep a constant stir going on. Make sure you get all the way to the bottom.

As the eggs begin to cook, they will thicken this mixture massively. This is at the point you decide how thick you want it. The thicker you want, the longer you will want to cook it but I suggest about 5-7minutes makes it just about right. When you are done with the cooking process, whisk in your vanilla extract.

Let the mixture cool at least 15 minutes off any kind of heat before serving as it is an extremely hot mixture now and takes quite some time to cool. You can put it in dishes to make this process go faster how ever too.

Hubby and I like to add a sprinkling of cinnamon to our finished dishes. Warm tapioca is to die for when it's a cold, wet or even snowy evening but just the same a properly chilled cup with some whipped cream on the top will make any hot overly sunny day seem just a tad cooler as well!

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