It had been ages since I’d last had tapioca pudding. And I do mean AGES, as in at least 10 years.
Yet, this creamy, oddly textured pudding used to be one of my ultimate favorite treats and rarely would a week go by without me whipping up a batch. Let it be said that between my boyfriend of the time and I, that batch would usually disappear before it had even been given a chance to cool down.
Frankly, I never quite understood how it can be that so many people really don’t care for tapioca, or more precisely, for its texture.
I personally happen to love how the little gelatinous beads wiggle and jiggle in your mouth as you try and trap them between your tongue and teeth. They’re like super soft and kinda slimy and they swim in an ocean of gooey silkiness. OH! Just thinking about it, my brains start drooling like mad…
For some reason, I recently got a sudden, irresistible craving for a bowl of the creamy concoction, and having just purchased a couple of fresh coconuts, my brains just kind of added the 2 together and decided that we were going to make Coconut Tapioca Pudding.
You know what? This was a match made in heaven. As in, that’s just how tapioca pudding should be made. Always.
To start, you will need 3 cups of liquid in total. We’ll be using one full can of coconut milk and the water from the fresh coconut we just cracked open. To that, you will then add enough store-bought, all natural coconut water or just plain water, to bring your total quantity of liquid to 3 cups.
This needs to go into a large saucepan, along with the tapioca, salt and scraped vanilla seeds, as well as the bean itself. This pod will release a lot of flavor while cooking; we’ll simply fish it out at the end.
Cook this over medium high heat until it starts to boil, then lower the heat to the lowest possible setting and simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered.
Slowly stir in honey and continue cooking for about two minutes.
You then need to beat the eggs in a separate bowl, or in the measuring cup that you just dirtied to measure your liquid, and very slowly whisk in some of the hot tapioca. Add about 2 cups total and no more than half a cup at a time, while constantly whisking.
This will equalize the temperature of the two mixtures and prevent the eggs from curdling.
Once you’ve got 2 cups fully incorporated, return the egg mixture to the pan, again, whisking constantly.
Slowly bring the pudding back to a slow simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting again and stir for several minutes until your tapioca reaches a nice, thick pudding consistency.
Throw in your grated coconut and ghee and give the pudding a final vigorous stir.
Let this cool for about 15 minutes (if you’re that patient) and don’t forget to fish out the vanilla pod.
By the way, you’ll totally want to lick this clean, and even suck on it good: it tastes like pure happiness!
I think that this pudding is at its best served warm, but it’s also delicious cold. Just keep in mind that it’ll be a lot firmer than your typical tapioca pudding after it’s been chilled because of the firm consistency that coconut milk takes when cold.
Also too… I’ve always been one to enjoy my tapioca pudding on the thick side, and this one is no exception. In fact, the addition of grated coconut after it’s done cooking really takes it over the edge in the thickness department. If you happen to prefer yours on the creamier side, feel free to add more coconut milk, or coconut water, or even a little bit of both!.
Of course, you could very well make this recipe using store-bought coconut water and dried coconut flakes, but I say you should definitely give the “real” thing a go. Fresh tastes like a million times better.
And don’t let the coconut cracking intimidate you. There’s nothing to it, really. Take a few minutes to watch my video on how to crack open a coconut quickly, easily and painlessly. I can guarantee you’ll become an expert on the matter in no time!
Look how nice and thick and creamy! Oh, and the flavor! You wouldn’t believe. Coconut does SO much for tapioca. It makes it like a million times better, as if this were possible.
And don’t you love those little black specks of vanilla? Don’t ask me why, but I’ve always found them super sexy.
I love fresh vanilla. So much so, I’m thinking I should dedicate an entire post to the art of using it. It’s a little luxury that I think no one should be without. Nothing even comes close to tasting like the real thing.
Or looking, for that matter…
- ½ cup small pearl tapioca
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- the water from a fresh coconut (learn how to easily crack open a coconut here)
- Enough store-bought coconut water (or plain water) to bring your liquid to 3 cups total
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup raw honey, melted
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- ½ cup fresh coconut meat, finely grated (you could also use unsweetened finely shredded coconut)
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- In a large measuring cup, combine coconut milk and water from fresh coconut. Add enough canned coconut water or just plain water to bring your total quantity of liquid to 3 cups.
- Transfer to a large saucepan, add tapioca, salt and scraped vanilla seeds along with the bean itself to the pot. This pod will release a lot of flavor while cooking; we'll simply fish it out at the end. Cook this over medium high heat until it starts to boil, then lower the heat to the lowest possible setting and simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered.
- Slowly stir in honey and continue cooking for about two minutes.
- Beat eggs in a separate bowl and very slowly whisk in some of the hot tapioca, about 2 cups total, half a cup at a time, to equalize the temperature of the two mixtures and prevent the eggs from curdling.
- Return the egg mixture to the pan, whisking constantly. Slowly bring the mixture back to a slow simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat again and stir for several minutes until your tapioca reaches a nice thick pudding consistency.
- Throw in grated coconut and ghee and give the pudding a final stir.
- Cool for about 15 minutes, fish out vanilla pod and serve.
- This pudding is at its best served warm, but it's also delicious cold. Just keep in mind that it'll be firmer than your typical tapioca pudding because of the firm consistency of chilled coconut milk.