Sunday, July 15, 2012

National Tapioca Day

July 15th is National Tapioca Day

Well it is another national food holiday.  Today is National Tapioca Day so of course, I have to celebrate it because it is a food day. 

It is an old fashion food that I grew up on.  So you can call me old fashioned, because I love it.  Not everyone likes the texture of tapioca.  My sister Doris hates it and since she was a little girl has refused to eat it because she says it like eating little eyeballs.  I like it for the very reason of its textures as it rolls around on my tough.  So I hope you like it and are willing to celebrate today with me.

Because my inquiring mind has to know I had to do a little research and found out some things I did not know.  I did not know that it was grown in Puerto Rico along with other Caribbean islands and South American.   Tapioca is a staple food in some of these regions and is used worldwide as a thickening agent.  Tapioca is gluten-free and I’m always looking for that.

Tapioca Pudding    

3 cups whole milk  (You can also use soy milk or almond milk for dairy free)
1/2 cup quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together the milk, tapioca, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 5 minutes longer.

Whisk 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs to temper them and add 2 tablespoons at a time until incorporated.  This prevents the eggs from becoming scrabbled.  Stir the egg mixture back into the tapioca until well mixed. Bring the pudding to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer until the pudding becomes thick enough to evenly coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. The pudding may be served hot or poured into serving dishes and refrigerated until cold.


  • You can add raisins, cinnamon, and/or nuts to it.
  • In serving it, you can top with fresh fruit like strawberries or raspberries.
  • You can also melt in ½ cup of chocolate chips and make a chocolate pudding. Add them after you have incorporated the eggs.
  • You can flavor the pudding with lemon for a lemon pudding.  Add some orange extract and grated orange peel for orange tapioca. 
  • Serve with whipped cream or a chocolate drizzle on top or both.
  • You can put a meringue on it and put it under the broiler to put a golden brown on your meringue.
  • You can dust it with sugar and put it under the broiler to add a thick crust on it like Crème Brûlée.
  • Add mint extract and a little green food coloring and maybe some mini chocolate chips for a chocolate mint tapioca pudding.

Me and my little jelly jars, I’m always looking for another use.  Fill them up they make a conversation piece when you serve them.  They also make a great lunch snack in the lunch box.  Put them in the refrigerator for a quick gluten free, healthy snack for the kids.  
I also like to use it as a thickener for pies.  When a recipe calls for flour in your fruit you can replace it with tapioca instead.  It adds a little more texture to that fruit pie and makes a great thickener.

Butterscotch Tapioca

6 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups small pearl tapioca
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk 
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 stick butter
2 tsp. vanilla 
8 oz. non dairy whipped topping
3 Snicker bars (Optional)

Bring water and salt to a boil, add tapioca and reduce heat, cook until almost clear. Stir often. Remove from heat.

Add brown sugar, cover and let set for approximately 10 minutes.

Beat the eggs, evaporated milk and sugar and add to tapioca. Put back on heat and bring to a boil. By this time the tapioca should be clear. Remove from heat again.

Brown the butter being careful not to burn it and add to hot tapioca, stir in vanilla, cool.

When the pudding is cold, fold in the whipped topping as well as the Snicker bars.

Tapioca Blueberry Pie

3 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1/4 cup tapioca
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature

Pie Dough
1 cup sweet unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon sugar mixed with a dash of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine blackberries, tapioca, sugar and butter.

Stir together and mush up some berries so mixture is juicy but still chunks of butter in mixture.

Combine butter, salt and flour then cut flour into butter. Rub mixture through fingers until cornmeal consistency.  The process is much easier if you have a food processor.   Add water turning mixture so it comes together in a ball then chill at least 2 hours.  This is a time you can also use the store bought rolls of pie dough and save yourself some work.

Divide chilled dough into 2 portions with one portion being slightly larger than the other. Roll larger one on floured surface into 12” circle then place dough on 9” pie plate.  Dough should be about 1/2" longer than top of plate then pour in berry mixture.  Roll out second portion of dough and cut it into 1” strips.  Place 5 strips across pie in one direction then weave in second set of strips. Fold bottom layer over top of lattice edges and crimp then sprinkle sugar over top.

Bake on bottom rack for an hour at 350 degrees F. or until it is golden brown.

You can use almost any fruit or berry and thicken it with tapioca using the above recipe. 

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday and National Tapioca Day.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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