This is not the tapioca you remembered from childhood.   This is a grown up, sophisticated version of what our moms fed us for breakfast.   Also known as sago, tapioca porridge had a texture that I hated as a child and absolutely refused to eat it.    Years later as an adult, I decided to give it a try and lo and behold, I actually liked it.

Tapioca, which comes from the cassava plant  is grown in tropical regions of Asian and South America and is often used as a thickener.   To enhance the creamy texture of Tapioca, I used a combination of whole milk and coconut milk; the combination gives the pudding a rich, decadent and nutty flavor.

The pineapple is sauteed with butter and rum then finished with a dash of nutmeg which takes this dish to the next level, transforming this humble dessert into something spectacular.   This is definitely not my mom’s tapioca pudding.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

½ cup small pearl tapioca

1 13.5 oz coconut milk

1 ½ cup whole milk

1/8 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

½ cup sugar

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

To Make Tapioca: Place tapioca pearl in a bowl, cover with hot water and let stand for 10 minutes.   Drain strain water and discard.   In a heavy bottom saucepot add tapioca, coconut milk, whole milk and salt.   Over medium heat, bring to a boil while stirring.   Stirring the mixture will prevent clumps from forming.    Lower heat and cook for 10 minutes.   Next add 1 cup of tapioca slowly to the beaten egg while stirring vigorously.   Place the beaten egg in a small bowl.   Using a whisk, add the tapioca to the egg will slowly raise the temperature of the egg; this will prevent it from scrambling when added to the hot tapioca.   Next add the egg mixture slowly to the pot while stirring.    Add sugar then cook for an additional 7-10 minutes on low heat until it has thickened a bit.    Stir in vanilla extract, then remove from heat.  Serve warm or cold.

Buttered Rum Pineapple

½ cup fresh pineapple, cut into small cubes

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp rum

Dash of nutmeg

To Make Pineapple: In a small saucepan over high heat, add butter.  When butter has melted, add pineapple.   Cook for 5-7 minutes then add sugar.   Cook for 2 minutes then add rum.  Cook for an additional minute or two.  Remove from heat and add a dash of freshly grated nutmeg.   Serve over tapioca.