Coconut milk is one of the key ingredients when it comes to dairy free, vegan and gluten free desserts. It has wonderful aroma and creamy texture, and is loved by all.
One of the coconut milk desserts that I make often, is Panna Cotta flavored with honey, ginger and lime. Another is a smooth pudding, thickened with water chestnut powder, and topped with fresh fruit. This time, I’ve decided to use tapioca granules as the thickening agent for the pudding I had in mind.
Tapioca is a starch, extracted from the cassava root. It is mostly processed into a fine powder, known as tapioca flour. The starch is also processed into small balls, often called tapioca pearls, in different sizes.
Once cooked, the pearls thicken the liquid in which they are cooked, while they keep their shape, turn their color from opaque to translucent, and develop a jelly-like texture.
The large tapioca pearls require soaking before cooking, and a somewhat lengthy cooking time, which is why different quick cooking versions appeared with time, including “minute tapioca”, the type I’ve use here. In this type, the granules are smaller, and require a very short cooking time. The texture is a bit different than that of the larger pearls, but still velvety and enjoyable.
Most tapioca puddings are quite heavy, as they include heavy cream or full fat milk, eggs and a large amount of sugar. The version I have here is much lighter, less sweet and more aromatic, due to the addition of tropical flavors from dark spiced rum, a bit of pineapple juice and vanilla. All these pair well with coconut milk, and elevate the humble pudding into a real dessert.
To make things even more interesting, I topped the pudding with some broiled pineapple chunks, which added both flavor, a different texture and freshness to it.
The pudding can be served warm or chilled. It is perfect for serving as a light dessert, at the end of a hearty dinner. Try it and enjoy.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 7 minutes
Chilling time: 1 hour (optional)
7 oz (200 grams) pineapple chunks, in pineapple juice
1 cup water
4 Tbs “minute” Tapioca granules
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbs dark spiced rum
¼ cup sugar (or to taste)
1 can (13.5 fl oz /400 ml) light coconut milk
- Drain the pineapple chunks, but keep the juice. Arrange over a small pan, place under a broiler and broil until they caramelize and brown around the edges. Set aside.
- In a medium pot, mix the water and tapioca granules. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 Tbs of the pineapple juice, vanilla, salt, rum, sugar and coconut milk, and mix.
- Bring to a boil, over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens and the granules are translucent.
- Divide the pudding between serving cups and bring to room temperature. The pudding can be served at this point, or after chilling for 1 hour in the fridge.
- Top with the broiled pineapple chunks just before serving.