Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Apple pie" tapioca pudding

"Apple pie" tapioca pudding

[Disclaimer: This isn't properly paleo, if that's how you found the blog, but it is delicious enough that I went around declaring myself The God Of Pudding for days after making it. Seriously, it rules. And my cousin asked for the recipe, so it's a good excuse to update.]

[Disclaimer the second: I would like to take a second to apologize to everyone who ever tried to teach me grammar. I have clearly failed you.]

I haven't posted any puddings for a while - not because I have forsaken pudding but because they haven't been particularly virtuous. That said, they're all still gluten and grain free (and easily modifiable to dairy free) because gluten makes me Very Sick Indeed. Tapioca is incredibly flexible. I've been doing all kinds of wacky flavor combinations with tapioca.

This is my staple (and totally modified) recipe:

I've been riffing off it like crazy for about a year now

I've tweaked almost every ingredient and step my basic recipe. For starters, I use a kind of tapioca that requires presoaking. For another, I don't like using milk in pudding because a) doesn't really agree with me, and b) it's ridiculously easy to scorch or curdle while coconut milk is really hard to screw up. Thirdly, I am lazy, and found ways to combine steps.

Basic tapioca:

  • 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca (I use bob's red mill, requires 30min soak)
  • 1 can coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cup water [if making Apple Pie Flavor, replace with cider, preferably spiced or mulled]
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4c white sugar
  • 1/4c brown sugar [note: to paleofy sugars, try replacing white with about 3/4 as much raw honey, and brown with grade b maple syrup.]
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2-2tsp vanilla [i made my own from vanilla beans and vodka and it's SO MUCH BETTER than store bought.]

Now if you're going to be fancy and make it apple pie style, you're not done yet. This is the basics. The "apple pie" variation will be after the directions.

1. Pour all ingredients except eggs & vanilla into a pot. 2 quart is a good size. I used a 3q when doubling the recipe (and adding the apples.) It worked but was pretty full at the end. Let sit for at least as long as your pearls need to soak (my package says 30 minutes) or until whenever you remember that you left it there. (Sometimes if I'm impatient, it's about 20minutes, frequently it's closer to 2 hours because I got distracted by twitter or something shiny.)

2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat - stir as much as possible while doing this because at this point the tapioca will want to stick to the pot which is annoying. That said, usually once it's boiling I will turn it down and at some point I stop my stirring for a second or twenty and wind up with bits stuck to the bottom. TAPIOCA IS A STICKY BASTARD and every time I will think "nah, it won't clump up that fast" but YES, YES IT WILL. That said, this is easily recoverable - keep stirring and scraping the stuck bits from the bottom and eventually it'll absorb enough liquid that it'll come up again and all lumps will go away. This step is 5-10minutes. Make sure the tapioca is cooked (clear) through and most if not all of the liquid is absorbed. If the pearls are clear on the outside but opaque in the center, it's not.

3. Turn the flame down to warm, and crack eggs into a small bowl. I use a 2c Pyrex cup. Whisk until pretty fully scrambled. You're going to temper the eggs. Take about 1/4 cup (I use a metal measuring cup) of pudding and pour into the Pyrex while whisking. Repeat until egg mixture is warm or cup is full.

4. Pour egg mixture into pudding pot, stir till pretty thoroughly mixed, bring the heat back up to med-low or medium (depending on how hot your stove runs.) and keep stirring about 3 minutes until it thickens. Yes, you may see little bits of egg white that didn't really dissolve into everything else. Do not worry. This doesn't detract from the deliciousness.

5. Turn off heat, pour in vanilla, stir, and ignore for 10 minutes so that it can cool down enough to eat. BURNT TONGUES DO NOT EQUAL DELICIOUS, I PROMISE. This is delicious hot or at room temperature or nearly as good out of the fridge, but who has that kind of patience when you have delicious? If you do, I recommend microwaving your portion 10-20 seconds to take the edge off the chill because DELICIOUSNESS is improved that way.

This makes about 4 full sized portions.

"Apple Pie" style:

  • 1 1/2 cups crisp apples, peeled and cut into large dice [I suggest honey crisp or pink lady or even Granny Smith. RED DELICIOUS ARE ABOMINATION.]
  • 1-2tbsp butter (if you can't do dairy, coconut oil is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg [spices are approximate, you can probably use either a little more or less. I'd add a bit of clove too so long as I'm not making it for family because my mother HATES clove.]
  • 1-2 tbsp brown sugar (or sweetener of choice)

1. Melt butter over med-low heat. Add spices and stir until fragrant. (Yes, just like Indian cooking. 30s-2min, depending on heat of oven). Add apples. Poor away from you so you don't get burnt by boiling oil. (Which I didn't do. If you're like me, now is an excellent time to grab either the burn cream or aloe.). Cook gently, stirring every so often for a few minutes. Taste.

2. If your apples are awesome, just stir for another few minutes until they're tender but still a bit al dente. (Total 5-10 min. Does it feel like an awesome pie? Good, you're done.) if your apples are a little boring, add some lemon juice and brown sugar to perk them up and cook down for another minute. (If you started with tart apples, skip the lemon.)

3. Reserve a double handful to sprinkle on top. Stir the rest into the pudding until evenly distributed. Sprinkle on top to let people know that even though the desert looks like sludge otherwise that DELICIOUSNESS IS COMING.

Serves about 5-6 good sized portions (full custard cups.) If you were at my mom's Chanukah party, what I brought was a double recipe (minus the tasting portion.)