Vanilla Bean Tapioca

While searching for dessert ideas for guests who are wheat (gluten) intolerant, I remembered using tapioca in school as a thickening agent, as well as for tapioca pudding. Tapioca is available in a flour form, but I prefer the tiny white pearls. When cooked with vanilla beans, milk, and sugar, it has the consistency and flavor of custard with attractive little pearls throughout.

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons medium pearl tapioca
1/2  {vanilla bean}, split in half lengthwise
1  cinnamon stick
4 cups fat-free milk
1/3 cup raw cane sugar
1  large egg
2 cups tropical fruit compote, optional
1/2 cup cold water
In the top of a double boiler or in a stainless steel mixing bowl, soak the tapioca pearls in the cold water until the tapioca soaks up all of the water, about 10 minutes.

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pod. Stir the vanilla bean pod and seeds, cinnamon stick, 3 1/2 cups of the milk, and sugar into the tapioca. Place the mix over slowly boiling water. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg with the remaining 1/2 cup milk. Whisk 1 cup of the hot tapioca mix into the beaten egg. Slowly whisk the egg mix back to into the remaining hot tapioca. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tapioca pearls are clear, about 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pod.

Remove from the heat and transfer the tapioca to a shallow dish. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the pudding’s surface and chill. The pudding will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight refrigerated container.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 20 min
plus 10 min soaking time

Cook Time: 30 min

Servings: 8

Recipe By: Cary Neff

From:  Conscious Cuisine
Used with permission of Sourcebook, Inc.

Nutrition Facts
As prepared, each serving contains 110 calories, 0.5g total fat, 30mg cholesterol, 75mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrate and 5g protein.