Thursday, February 5, 2009

Homemade Tapioca pudding with honey, lavender, orange and vanilla

I don't know if anyone else likes tapioca pudding. I'm a pushover for a good home made batch of the stuff. When I am still a walking sick person (okay now no more mental capacity jokes), I love tapioca. When I'm in bed, I want it most of all. Warm. With raisins. Apparently my fellow culinary school friend Tara , who I usually have totally culinary harmony with (indeed one I was sure was my twin on all things food) has found reason to doubt the valid use of raisins in anything ingested by man (or beast). Her exact phrase, that made giggle was, "Raisins are of the Devil".

So I made some without. I have yet to know if Tara even likes tapioca, but given my recent total disappointment on the raisin issue, I will leave the open question to the food blog...and not feel total rejection if for some insane reason, tapioca is "of the Devil". It does however go without saying that there is no accounting for taste. What I adore, others may abhor. I don't care. I'm posting a recipe for tapioca. Ronit will eat it. Lehavah oo-la-la ... It's gluten free.
It turns out I own an original Betty Crocker cookbook. Whoever guessed my mother in law would get me that for Christmas...and a recipe stand to put it on. It has a place of honor in my to all the ingredients for tapioca...including the raisins...TARA.

You will need...
6 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup instant tapioca (or 2 more T depending on how thick you like it)
2/3 cup honey
2T cream cheese (if you are's optional but I love it!)
a scratch or two of fresh grated nutmeg
dash of cinnamon (about 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp orange zest
3/4 tsp crushed culinary lavender (optional)
1 tsp double strength vanilla or almond extract

Combine the milk, tapioca, honey,

nutmeg...(fresh grated is will never go back to the jar, but if you have the jar it works)....

cinnamon...(I use the good stuff from The Pampered Chef)...

Two eggs...

Out of the shells...and I crack them in a little bowl so I don't get any shells in the pudding. Yes, I know I am weird. Just so YOU know I'm weird for all the right reasons... like cool pictures of eggs in a green bowl. See. Not so crazy now am I? Don't answer that. Really. Don't.

Put the eggs in there with all the other stuff...

Whisk it up and let it sit for 5 minutes. This helps the tapioca absorb the liquid.
I'm going to frame this picture and put it over my stove.

Wait, maybe I'll frame this one:

While the tapioca is soaking up the love...add some culinary lavender. If you don't have it this is what it looks like. I promise the tapioca won't taste like soap. It just helps me relax and adds a nice subtle floral hint. Mmmm. Lavender.

You can crush it up with your hands. I also add some orange zest. Just a little. About 1/2 tsp.

Then I take a nifty picture so the folks at home can see.

Now after 5 minutes of soaking, whisk the pudding constantly over medium heat until it comes to a rolling boil. I do mean stand there and hold the whisk for 5 minutes or so and stir. I don't want anyone writing and telling me that they burned the pudding. If you stand there and stir, it won't burn. If you walk away...I am not responsible. Nope.
Once it boils, remove it from the heat. Really, take it off the stove. Don't just turn off the heat. Put it on a hot pad. Add the vanilla. Then the final perfect touch...

Plop in some cream cheese. Not much, just a nibblet. Yes, nibblet is a word.

See how pretty it is peeking out of the pudding? If only I could get it to wear one of those funky pink swimming caps and synchronize swim. Then my life would be complete.

Okay,now this is where I wax 1955. Seriously, you can just put the pudding in a bowl in the fridge, but I like to put it in these crisp clean mason jars delicately sprinkled with plump Devil-raisins. Evil little nuggets. Oh how I love them! If you don't want to use raisins, I left one without. So now Tara can come visit without feeling jilted. You could use dried blueberries, cherries, cranberries, pears, apricots...(get the idea, dried fruit right?). For Tara...yes, you could use chocolate chips.

I used a funnel so boiling hot tapioca didn't cascade all over my lovely jars and end up in sad pools of inedible pudding on my floor. That would be a great human tragedy. Right up there with not liking raisins.

Oh yes. If you can mathematically and physically get any closer to the edge of a jar without spilling pudding, I would like to see it.

Let them cool 20 minutes or so and then cover with a lid and put in the fridge. There you go.

I'm now going back to bed. Wake me when your pudding is ready. Except Tara. Unless she brings me raisins.


TARA said...

Oh how you make me laugh! I'm so sorry to burst the culinary harmony bubble. Can we still be twins, perhaps just not identical? Either way, we've bonded over chocolate and cottage dill rolls, and neither one of us got an A from Tracy on our advanced pastry projects even though I'm pretty sure we produced some of the best in our class, and I'm pretty sure we both either cried or were too mad to cry at the indignity of it.

In my mind I don't like tapioca, but in fairness I probably haven't tried it in a long, long time and should do so before relegating it to the "of the devil" category. It's a texture thing. Which is weird because I ADORE rice pudding - WITHOUT RAISINS of course!

Kathy said...

For the record, I like the first of the two pictures best (before the cinnamon is stired in). :o)

The Turner Family said...

mmmmmm that looks delish

The Turner Family said...

mmmm..... that looks yummy!

Anonymous said...

Hey Steph, I showed Dan this entry when he decided to make Tapioca yesterday . . . so he tried it (without cream cheese, of course). We both agreed that it was gourmet delicious and really covered the soymilk taste. Thank you (we are in the "no raisin" camp.)

Chef Tess said...

Shae, once again you have made my day! Thanks for the applause. *wink* I love you...even if you don't like raisins.

Anonymous said...

just found your blog while searching for a tapioca recipe with honey - thanks, I am giving it a try - I'll let you know how mine turns out and, no, I will not waste any on the counter - such a tragedy!! :-)

Colleen said...

Had to check out this recipe after you mentioned it in class... Sounds YUMMY!! and you are so funny! LOL Oh Yeah, this is going on my "try soon" list!

Colleen said...

OH wait! this isn't the one you mentioned! Stumbled on that one under the "52" section in your blog... silly me! Glad I took a wrong turn, now I have two new good recipes! LOL