In today’s Record-Eagle column, I ran a recipe for Slow-Cooker Vanilla Bean Tapioca Pudding. (I’ll link to the full column when I’m back from vacation, but in the meantime the recipe is posted below.)
This pudding takes the perennial favorite tapioca pudding and dresses it up. Served warm, it’ll heat you up from the inside out on chilly fall days. Using a real vanilla bean gives the pudding a sumptuous velvet-like texture and flavor. If you don’t have access to vanilla beans, I weep for you, but you can still make a delicious version of the recipe by substituting for the beans with 2 teaspoons of real vanilla extract.
- ¼ cup fine pearl tapioca (not granulated)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ of one vanilla bean
- 2 cups milk**
- 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, beaten in a medium bowl
- non-stick cooking spray or butter for greasing the slow-cooker
**Low fat milk works fine in this, but it’s silkier and richer if you use whole milk or a combination of whole milk and half&half or even GLORY, GLORY heavy cream.
Heat milk in a microwave safe container until very hot. Spray slow cooker crock with nonstick cooking spray or butter generously. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and use the blunt spine of the knife to scrape the ‘seeds’ from the bean pod. Add the vanilla bean and ‘seeds’ into the crock along with the tapioca, sugar, and milk. Stir well, put cover on the slow cooker and cook for 1 1/2 hours on low, or until tapioca is soft.
Use a spoon to carefully break up any clumps that have formed in the crock. Slowly pour a ladle of the hot tapioca mixture into the eggs while beating vigorously with a wire whisk. When it is fully incorporated, pour the mixture slowly back into the crock while whisking. Recover and continue cooking on low for 30 minutes more. When the time is up, vent the lid, turn the heat off, and allow to sit for 30 minutes more. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled. If you choose to chill the pudding, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface before refrigerating.
The pudding is great alone, but when you layer it with fresh blueberries in parfait form? Spectacular. If you have a sprig of mint the top of this parfait is where it belongs. If you don’t have mint, don’t sweat it. No one will care when they’re eating this!
Can you see all those little flecks of vanilla in the pudding? This is one of my new favorite week-night desserts. It’s so easy to make and the vanilla is so silky.