For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved tapioca pudding. For as long as I can remember, I’ve also been known in my family as nutmeg. (You better believe there’s a direct correlation.)
Megala. Goobie. Little. Cowsey. Wilbur…
Just a sampling of the other charming names my siblings and I acquired growing up. Fortunately, they never really took off beyond the walls of our house. Every so often, there are occasions when sharing means more when it’s intimate (and when it means avoiding potential ridicule).
This recipe, however, is meant to be shared. Just don’t ask me to share my pudding. It’s fluffy and creamy and best straight from the fridge with a large spoon.
Fair warning: don’t top it with too much nutmeg. In large quantities, nutmeg is a hallucinogen. Read into that as you will.
Serves 4 – 6
1/2 cup small pearl tapioca (NOT instant)
3 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature, separated
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
nutmeg, if desired
1) Combine tapioca, milk, and salt in a saucepan on medium high heat. Stir until boiling. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes at the lowest possible heat. Add sugar gradually.
2) Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl. Stir in some of the hot tapioca so the eggs don’t curdle when added to the pudding.
3) Combine eggs in the pan with the tapioca. Slowly bring mixture barely to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and stir several minutes at a low simmer, stirring constantly until the pudding thickens and coats the back of your spatula.
4) Beat egg whites in a bowl until they form soft peaks. Remove the tapioca pudding from the stove and fold in the beaten egg whites.
5) Cool the pudding for 15 minutes. Add vanilla. Serve either warm or chilled and sprinkle with nutmeg.