Recipe for Old Fashioned Large Pearl Tapioca Pudding takes some time to cook right, but it is worth every last minute spent waiting for this delicacy to be ready to eat.
WHAT IS TAPIOCA?
If you don’t know what tapioca is because none of your older relatives ever made you tapioca pudding, then you might be more familiar with the large black tapioca pearls commonly found in at the bottom of your bubble tea. Your local boba house might just call them black pearls, they are really just large pearl tapioca that gets its color from the addition of brown sugar.
Boba is available at larger Asian markets. You can find it in white, black and multi-colored. There are also a ton of shapes and sizes.
I have never used these in tapioca pudding. It’s my understanding that they are meant to be cooked in sugar water before adding to boba or bubble tea.
WHAT KIND OF TAPIOCA IS BEST FOR PUDDING?
I believe the key to the best tapioca pudding is starting with large pearl tapioca. It will leave behind the large clear balls like you see in diners and snack packs.
Small pearl tapioca and instant tapioca can be used, but I have had poor luck with both of those.
Large Pearl Tapioca
Using large pearl tapioca will produce something similar to Kozy Shack. The packages of large pearl always say to soak it overnight, but I only ever soak mine for about 7 hours. It cooks up beautifully, even as a double batch. With that being said, I have also had days that I had to cook the pudding a few minutes longer because of my impatience.
Large pearl tapioca will take about 25 minutes of simmering even after the tapioca has been soaked for 8 hours or longer.
I use Reese brand large pearl tapioca. Use the soaking package directions for whichever brand you use.
Small Pearl Tapioca
Small pearl tapioca needs a much shorter soaking time, 30 to 60 minutes. Use the soaking package directions for whichever brand you’re using. It only needs to be simmered for 10 to 15 minutes. Only cook until te tapioca has turned clear.
Because of the smaller size, this one is more likely to stick to the bottom of the pan and scorch. Stir this constantly to avoid that.
This one requires only 5 minutes of soaking and 5 minutes of simmering. Please don’t walk away from the stove when using this method.
I do not use instant tapioca because I don’t think it turns out as nice. As with the other sizes, look at the package directions and use their recommendations.
HOW TO MAKE TAPIOCA PUDDING
Soaking the tapioca is an important step for all three sizes. Allow enough time to properly soak whichever size you decide to use. I soak large pearl tapioca in cool tap water for at least 7 hours and up to overnight.
Drain the rehydrated tapioca well before adding to the rest of the ingredients because you don’t want to water down your pudding.
Add the milk and the sugar to the pan first and allow to come to a simmer. You want the sugar to be dissolved so that there is some sweetness inside the tapioca pearls.
As soon as the milk and sugar are hot, add the tapioca and stir it well. Stir as often as necessary to keep the tapioca from sticking to them bottom of the pan. Cook just until the tapioca balls are clear or nearly clear. Large pearl tapioca will take about 25 minutes.
You also want to avoid browning any of the pudding ingredients. It’s ugly and doesn’t taste very good either.
Temper your eggs before adding to the hot tapioca pudding mix or the eggs will turn into tiny scrambled eggs. Tempering eggs is just adding a bit of hot liquid to beaten eggs and mixing it well. I do this a couple of times to make sure that the eggs won’t get shocked. I add about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid to the eggs at a time.
Add tempered eggs back into the pan and mix well. Turn the heat back up and bring it all to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
Cover the cooked tapioca with plastic wrap and press the plastic wrap to the top of the pudding. When cooling, make sure it is covered with plastic wrap sitting directly on top of the pudding. This prevents a skin from forming on top.
It is good warm, trust me, I couldn’t wait a minute longer and had to try some as soon as it was cool enough to get into my mouth. It’s a whole lot better cold though.
CAN I DOUBLE THE TAPIOCA PUDDING RECIPE?
You can easily double this recipe, but unless you are feeding a crowd I do not recommend doubling it. It makes a ton of pudding.
HOW LONG DOES TAPIOCA PUDDING LAST?
Tapioca pudding will last in the refrigerator for up to one week. It’s usually all eaten long before it goes bad!
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Tapioca Pudding Recipe
- 1/2 cup large tapioca pearls
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cup sugar divided
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Place tapioca pearls in a bowl and fill with water.
- Stir the tapioca around and drain.
- Refill the bowl with water and allow to sit for at least 7 hours and up to overnight.
- Drain the tapioca and set aside.
- In a large saucepan mix milk and 3/4 cup of the sugar.
- Over medium heat, bring milk and sugar to a simmer.
- When little bubbles start forming around the edges of the pan, add the tapioca and reduce the heat to maintain just a simmer.
- Continue to simmer for 25 minutes, or until tapioca balls are mostly clear, stirring frequently.
- In a bowl, combine eggs and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar.
- Temper the eggs by mixing small amounts of the hot mixture (about 1/4 cup at a time), until half of the hot mixture has been incorporated.
- Add egg mixture back to the pan and stir well.
- Cook and stir constantly for 2 minutes or until the pudding is thick.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla.
- Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill.
- Can be made with less sugar, this will affect provided nutritional information.
- To use small pearl tapioca, sreduce the soaking time to 30 to 60 minutes. Follow the rest of the directions in the recipe and only simmer the small pearl tapioca just until to turns clear, 10 to 15 minutes.
- To use instant tapioca, soak the tapioca for 5 minutes. Follow the directions in the recipe but reduce the simmering to 3 to 5 minutes or just until the tapioca pieces have turned clear.