Tapioca (cassava) brings back those memories from childhood as a pudding that my Mom made me eat. I remembered so vividly those large pearl like eyes in my vanilla pudding. Somehow I managed to consume many of times what I called her “frog eyed pudding”.

Over the years of my baking and cooking I discovered that tapioca could be a very valuable thickening agent. Using this wonderful thickener would be my key technique for making cherry pies or blueberry pies. Tapioca proved to be an excellent consistency in berry and cherrie pies, which would never weep and also stayed firm enough to cut cleanly. Could this key technique be transformed from pie into a light tasty fruit crisp? Sparks more ideas for future blogs.

But what about that vivid frog eyed pudding imprinted into my thoughts, could that be transformed into a culinary tasty wonder? This brings me to Tapioca a new frontier for exploration.

Exploring tapioca in it’s various forms all have their purposes, which one works the best as a proper thickener?

Minute Tapioca is the most commonly used tapioca because it cooks in minutes, needing only to soak in a liquid for short period of time. Minute Tapioca takes about 5 minutes to soak before making puddings. This type of tapioca can be mixed with berries, pitted fruits and used in fillings that are baked without having to be soaked before making the filling.

Chocolate Mounds Tapioca Pudding Recipe

Inspired by Mounds Candy bar flavor profile.
Inspired by Mounds Candy bar flavor profile.

Ingredients:

3 tbsp minute tapioca
1 large egg yolk
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup coconut flakes
2 cups milk

3 tbsp sugar
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup 60% dark chocolate

1/4 cup coconut flakes, toasted to garnish
Dark Chocolate pistols, to garnish
Whipped Cream or Topping to garnish

Directions:

1. In saucepan combine together, minute tapioca, egg yolk, sugar, coconut flakes and milk, whisking well all listed ingredients. Let these ingredients rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Note with no heat applied.

Beaten Egg White Meringue
Beaten Egg White Meringue

2. Meanwhile in small bowl or 1 quart measure beat egg white until medium foam develops. Then add very slowly sugar small amounts at a time beating on high speed. Continue beating until almost stiff peak forms then add vanilla extract and set aside.

Cooked Minute Tapioca with coconut flakes
Cooked Minute Tapioca with coconut flakes

3. Bring the tapioca mixture to a boil slowly over medium heat stirring constantly. Cook this mixture over very slow boil or high simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the dark chocolate stirring until all chocolate is melted and incorporated.

Folding meringue into tapioca pudding.
Folding meringue into tapioca pudding.

4. Fold the beaten egg white meringue into tapioca mixture, carefully folding egg whites to give tapioca light texture and completely folded into mixture. Cover with plastic wrap pushing plastic so that it is touching tapioca pudding. Allow to rest for 10 to 20 minutes to cool and tapioca to continue absorbing moisture.

Assembling Chocolate Mounds Tapioca Pudding
Assembling Chocolate Mounds Tapioca Pudding

5. To assemble use parfait glasses or wine glass pipe alternately with chocolate tapioca and whipped cream. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate pistol or curl.

6. Chill dessert until service covered with plastic wrap.

Yield: 2 large dessert glasses or 4 smaller ramekins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Assembly Time: 2 to 3 minutes

Variations can be made to this recipe, by toasted sliced almonds which could be added into layering of the parfait. Then replace the vanilla extract, with half the amount of the almond extract. This would make a Chocolate Almond Joy Tapioca Pudding.


 

Pearl Tapioca ranges in a variety of sizes depending on what your thickening purpose. Most of pearl tapioca needs a much longer soaking time, with a average time of 24 hours before cooking. The pearl larger tapioca is what my Mom used to make her “fish eyed puddings”.

Granulated Tapioca is much smaller size then pearl sizes, but needs a minimum soaking time of 5 to 15 minutes in liquid before cooking for tapioca granules to be softened. This works well for puddings but unsuccessful in fruit fillings without a presoak treatment. Often this type of tapioca is less expensive then Minute Tapioca3.

Tapioca flour when blended with other gluten free flours is great way to be used in gluten free baking recipes. Providing the right consistency to baked goods giving them structure for a crispy and chewy texture profile.

Most of all it can be used as alternative to cornstarch with better attributes, pies and fillings can be refrigerated or frozen without losing it’s thickening quality.1

Tapioca Maltodextrin which can be added to liquid fats like olive oil, bacon fat, chocolate or Nutella, then mixing to from a light fluffy powder. But when eaten the fat flavored powder transforms back into a liquid state, giving an unique taste experience.

To make fat infusion into a fluffy powder use a ratio of 60% oil to 40% Tapioca Maltodextrin. By mixing in a food processor, then forced mixture through a drum sieve to forming flavorful texture that is light and fluffy. This then can be stored in a tight fitting sealed container for a week.2

 

References 

1 Tapioca Flour – http://www.bobsredmill.com/tapioca-flour.html

2 Tapioca Maltodextrin -http://www.willpowder.net/tapiocaMaltodextrin.html

3 Minute Tapioca is Kraft Food product http://www.kraftbrands.com/Minutetapioca/

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