My mother just despised it. Dad said it was because they used to call it fish eyes and she couldn't get past the thought of that. But we loved it, him and I. Bonded by a love for a lumpy pudding/custard mash-up, never mattering if homemade or from the light blue Jell-O box, it was something only he and I appreciated. There were other hidden food covens in our family of nine. Some chewed glass in secret, sucking rock candy or swallowing chocolate from our auntie who worked at a local candy shop. Others chose the popcorn/kool-aid diet, typical of Sunday nights accompanied by the Wonderful World of Disney. It was the 70s. I greedily ate cake, and pie, and poundcake after sucking the bone marrow from the leavings of my parent's kitchen date night-- sirloin steak with the bone-in on Saturday nights. As I grew older my younger brothers and I were included, after which we watched Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and the Love Boat. Dad also loved lamb chops, which were admittedly too gamey, if not too sophisticated and spendy for my thrifty Polish/German mix of a mother. He made excellent fried chicken, pancakes locally famous, and the most amazing eggnog I dearly loved until it was banished due to acute raw egg paranoia. I still mourn that lost recipe he magically whipped up almost every December.
But our love for tapioca lives on--because it was just between us two.
A classic treat with a fruity twist
Just because it’s January, that doesn’t mean we’re giving up dessert. That said, we are cutting back slightly on the saccharine. Enter this creamy, large-pearl tapioca pudding, naturally sweetened by swirls of puréed fresh mango and topped with a cowlick of toasted coconut. The finished pudding (delicious warm or chilled) loiters on the cusp of sweet, making it a good recipe for both breakfast and dessert.
Mango-Coconut Tapioca Pudding
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 20 minutes (plus overnight refrigeration)