Caramel Tapioca Pudding

caramel tapioca pudding | apt 2b baking co
caramel tapioca pudding | apt 2b baking co
caramel tapioca pudding | apt 2b baking co
caramel tapicoa pudding | apt 2b baking co

Tapioca pudding is one of those old fashioned foods that I LOVE. Gimme your prunes, bran muffins, pineapple upside down cakes with neon maraschino cherries, jello I love them all. I think one of the first things I ever “cooked” was jello instant pudding. I loved the magic that happened when milk and powder was whisked together and chilled. Magic. While instant jello pudding still has it’s appeal, homemade pudding is almost as easy. All you need is a bit of milk, sugar, thickener, and flavorings. This version is a bit grown up, thanks to the extra step of caramelizing the sugar before adding the rest of the ingredients. I like to eat it a bit warm, with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on top.

p.s. We released the trailer for my book last week, if you haven’t seen it, please check it out!

Caramel Tapioca Pudding

Serves 6-8

4 cups whole milk, divided

1/3 cup small tapioca pearls

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon salt

unsweetened whipped cream, to serve

Combine one cup of the milk and the tapioca pearls in a bowl. Let sit for 1 hour.

When you are ready to cook the rest of the pudding. Add the sugar to a dry, heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook the sugar over medium heat, until it is melted and deep amber in color. Stir occasionally if the sugar isn’t browning evenly in the pan.

Gradually and carefully stir in the remaining milk, it will bubble and spit, while whisking constantly. Stir until the sugar is completely melted into the sugar. Then add the soaked tapioca.

Simmer the mixture, stirring often, until the tapioca is cooked through and translucent.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with a splash of water, then whisk it along with the salt into the pudding. Stir constantly until the mixture has thickened and the cornstarch is cooked, another couple of minutes.

Serve slightly warm, or chilled with dollops of unsweetened whipped cream.

caramel tapioca pudding | apt 2b baking co

Caramelized Pumpkin Puddings

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I generally use roasted butternut squash for any holiday baking that calls for pumpkin purée. Personally, I think sugar pumpkins are pretty flavorless and not really worth the effort, but that was before I met the winter luxury (a pretty sexy name for a squash if you ask me). They are an heirloom variety that I had never seen before a trip up to Maine to assist a shoot that was covering the Common Ground County Fair last month. There was a beautiful farmer's market at the entrance to the fair with quite a few varieties of heirloom squash that I hadn't seen before and I couldn't resist bringing a few back to New York with me (big surprise). My hands down favorite was the winter luxury, a curious little pumpkin covered with netting like a melon that I admired my on my mantle for about a week before I gave in and decided to make something with it. When I cut it open the flesh was beautifully orange and when roasted it was smooth with hints of caramel and toffee. It was so naturally sweet and tasty that I ate the leftover puree plain as I stood over the stove whisking this very pudding. The pudding below is a perfect foil for the winter luxury's smooth texture and flavor, but if you aren't up to roasting your own pumpkin, canned will do just fine just don't skip the caramelization step.

p.s. Does anyone in have a winter luxury supplier in New York? I haven't been able to find them at my local farmer's market and I would love to find a few more before Thanksgiving.

Caramelized Pumpkin Puddings with Brown Sugar Cream and Seeded Brittle

yield 6-8 individual parfaits

If you'd like to roast your own pumpkin for this recipe here is a great tutorial from Aimee at Simple Bites. The caramelization technique below comes from Meta Given by way of Food52 and it is a winner.

Caramelized Pumpkin Pudding

1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

pinch salt

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon allspice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Spoon the pumpkin puree into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes or until the puree looks slightly dry and caramelized. Keep warm while you prepare the pudding.

2. In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk the milk, cream and egg yolks. In medium saucepan whisk together the sugar, salt and cornstarch then whisk in the milk mixture, followed by the vanilla bean seeds and pod.

3. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until it has thickened and is bubbling gently, 8-12 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the warm pumpkin puree, spices and butter. Remove the vanilla bean pod and save it for another use. Pour the pudding into a dish and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool.

Brown Sugar Cream

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, bourbon or rum

Combine the cream, brown sugar, and extract or booze in a large mixing bowl and whip until medium peaks form.

Seeded Brittle 

I used this recipe and added in 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds with the pepitas.

To Assemble

Whisk the chilled pudding until smooth, then layer it with the whipped cream in pretty glasses. Top with a few shards of brittle right before the puddings are served.