I went to an Asian grocery and, due to my love of all things tapioca, bought large pearl tapioca. Including a batch of mixed colored tapioca bubbles. I tried to use them like their small pearl cousins, and it just didn’t work. Yeah, I know, should have been obvious, but I was having trouble finding working instructions online. (Someone please put out a tapioca cookbook. Thank you.) So I inverted the whole thing:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch (cornstarch might work similarly)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon pure orange oil (optional!)
- 1/2 cup colorful large tapioca pearls
Put the milk and sugar into a reasonably sized saucepan and heat at medium, stirring constantly, until it’s steaming a lot and seems to be getting close to boiling.
Whisk together the egg yolks and starch until smooth. It might be easiest to do it 1 tablespoon at a time.
Temper the eggs by whisking in ladle-fulls of the hot milk mixture. Then whisk the egg mixture back into the rest of the milk. Bring to a boil (gently, so you don’t scramble the eggs) and then as soon as it feels thick enough (probably after one minute), take it off the heat, stir in the vanilla and optional orange oil, and pour into a container to cool. (If you want to hurry the chilling process, put the container in a bath of ice water that, obviously, should not be deep enough to allow water in with the custard.)
Follow the instructions on the package of colored tapioca. Mine went like this: bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup tapioca pearls, cover, and cook for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat, give it another 5-8 minutes before taking off the lid. All depends on how soft you like your tapioca. Drain and allow to sit in cold water for 20 seconds. Drain again, and stir into the custard.
Chill and eat well!
In case you want to adapt the amounts in this recipe, I will point out that the ratio is 1 cup milk, to 1/4 cup sugar, to 1 egg yolk, to 1 tablespoon of starch. I’ve found that this ratio works pretty well, although it isn’t as though I’ve ever tried to make 10 cups of custard before.
*Note: I have nothing to do with the Virginia Bacon Festival except as a normal bacon-nomming attendee.