Are you still sticking with your New Year’s Resolution? You know, the one about exercising and losing weight. You are? Why that’s just great! And I’m here to help with that. Isn’t it hard going without desserts though, denying yourself those sweets you love? What happens most often is–you can hold out for a while, but then youabsolutelymusthavesomething for dessert.
For me pudding seems to be the answer. I cannot completely cut desserts out of my life, so I think that having a limited quantity of a dessert that is not excessively decadent is exactly what’s needed. It keeps me sane (at least I think so). In my opinion there is no better dessert for this purpose than pudding. This week my pudding of choice is tapioca. OK, so call me old-fashioned. I served it in dessert cups that I found in my parent’s attic; I love these old vintage dishes, too.
Tapioca is a pudding that doesn’t get much attention in the pudding/dessert world. It’s a puzzle to me, as I think it’s gorgeous, has a chewy starchy texture, and comes from the plant world. Tapioca pearls come in several sizes, but I like the tiny ones. They get cooked in a custard to which you can add vanilla or lemon, orange, or cinnamon. Tapioca pudding is like a blank slate. In this case, since I am feeling the effects of this long cold winter, I included ingredients that I associate with the tropics; mango, lime and coconut. I used mango pureed with lime juice, and topped off the whole thing with whipped coconut cream, and toasted coconut chips for garnish.
If you are dreaming of warmer places, places with palm trees and tropical fruits, places where one does not need to pull on heavy snow boots with ski socks, a down-quilted jacket, knit hat, scarf and gloves just for a grocery store run, then this dessert might just be the dessert for you.
As I write this, the southern parts of the U.S are feeling the full brunt of a winter snow-sleet-ice storm. I feel your pain, people. We here in the northeast know just what you’re going through. Hang in there, Spring is on its way!
COCONUT TAPIOCA PUDDING WITH MANGO
Yield: 4 1/2-cup servings, plus toppings
- 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca, such as Bob’s Red Mill
- 2 1/2 cups coconut milk ( light or full-fat, or use regular milk)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 very ripe mango, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar, optional ( I used it, but would skip it next time)
- 1 squeeze or two of fresh lime juice
- whipped coconut cream
- 1/2 cup toasted coconut chips or flakes
- few gratings of lime zest
Make Pudding: In a medium saucepan, soak tapioca in coconut milk for 30 minutes. Whisk in egg yolk, sugar, and salt. Place saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer, then reduce it to very low so it’s barely bubbling, and cook it until it thickens, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour into pudding cups to chill for several hours. Pudding may seem thin going into the cups but after chilling in the fridge, it will set on the firm side.
To make a softer, lighter pudding you may want to beat the egg white you separated from the yolk, separately with a spoonful of sugar you would otherwise have added to the tapioca. Beat until glossy peaks form. After the pudding has cooled for about 15 minutes, spoon some of the pudding mixture into the egg white and fold in, then pour all of it back into the pudding, folding in until it has all been uniformly incorporated.
Make Mango Place mango chunks in a small food processor or blender with lime juice and sugar and blend until very smooth. Refrigerate puree until needed.
Make Whipped Coconut Cream: Place 1 can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. This will cause the coconut fats and thin milk/watery part to separate. Also place small/medium mixing bowl (ideally metal) in the freezer. The next day, turn the can of coconut milk upside down before opening it, so that the thickened coconut fat will be at the bottom. Pour off the thin coconut milk; you should have about 1 cup and this can be used towards the amount needed for the tapioca. About 2/3 thickened coconut fat will remain at the bottom of the can. Scrape this into the chilled bowl, and beat it with an electric mixer until thick and whipped, like cream. Dollop it over desserts such as this, though you will have more than you need for 4 puddings. It will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for several days.
To Toast Coconut Chips: Heat an oven to 350*F. Spread coconut flakes on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes, tossing once if needed to help them brown evenly. Let cool before using.
To Serve: Dollop a spoonful of mango puree on the tapioca, then top it with a some coconut cream. Sprinkle with toasted coconut before serving.
SOURCE: Smitten Kitchen