Don’t you love it when things just work out? I was apprehensive about this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings recipe, Chocolate Espresso Tapioca Pudding with Kahlúa Whipped Cream from Baked Occasions, because my puddings have historically been hit-and-miss. (This is our Black Friday recipe, a little ahead of the “holiday”.) I have never made tapioca pudding from scratch, but the pearls are so pretty that I was excited! In fact, until a few years ago, I wouldn’t have considered putting tapioca anywhere near my face, but for some reason which I cannot recall at the moment, I tried and loved it. Was it a dare? Did I lose a bet? Was there a special recipe? I don’t remember, but I’m glad it happened. Perhaps the texture is not for everyone, but I highly recommend trying it. When making BAKED‘s recipes, I often find myself saying, “I’ve never been a fan of [ingredient], but this recipe has made me reconsider…” In this case, I’m not big on coffee-flavored desserts, but there is a certain amount of chocolate that will cancel out any coffee pickiness; this pudding is mocha-tastic! Not to mention Kahlúa-scented whipped cream– it. is. on.
After soaking the tapioca pearls in cream for about ½ hour, you’ll whip egg whites and sugar together to something resembling soft peaks. I wasn’t sure if I whipped the egg whites and sugar correctly because I could never seem to achieve “peaks”; the best I could do was a soft marshmallowy type of texture. I kept looking to see if I mismeasured the sugar, but it was, in fact, correct. After several minutes of mixing with a hand mixer, I gave up and started cooking the pudding.
The tapioca pearls get a little clumpy while soaking in the cream, but they will loosen up and un-stick while cooking. Add more cream, the milk, and egg yolks, then whisk everything and bring the mixture to a boil. Tapioca scorches easily, so it’s important to whisk constantly– I used a ball whisk most of the time, because it gets into the corners of the pan really well.
The mixture started to thicken after about 10 minutes of whisking/simmering, and I let it go for the full 15. At first I had wondered if there would be enough tapioca, but once the pearls expanded, they were quite visible and the putting had much more texture. However, I could never get it to be super thick, so I wondered if maybe I didn’t cook it long enough or maybe my heat was too low? At any rate, I pulled it off the heat at that point and added the flavorings.
I loved watching the chocolate, cocoa, and espresso powder whirl into the tapioca pudding. I used Guittard 72% “Coucher du Soleil” couverture discs. I would err on the side of darker chocolate; something in the neighborhood of 60% would not impart as much chocolate flavor.
You’ll then temper the egg whites (so they don’t scramble) by folding ¼ of the tapioca into the egg white/sugar fluff, then pouring that back into the tapioca pot. The egg white mixture mixed in perfectly fine after a couple of minutes of stirring, so I took the pot off the heat and added the vanilla. The pudding was still quite runny compared to my idea of what the texture should be, but I ladled it into ramekins anyway.
In the morning, the puddings were perfectly set. It was thick, creamy (not grainy), and the pearls were perfectly chewy! The tapioca pearls should be chewy, yet toothsome– something reminiscent of al dente pasta.
The cream takes precisely one minute to whip up. I went easy on the Kahlúa at first and couldn’t taste a lick of coffee flavor, so I folded in more. In doing this, I slightly over-whipped the cream, but it was still lovely– a lightly sweet, coffee-laced cream to complement that mochalicious pudding! I don’t know if this is a thing with pudding, but I feel like it tasted even better with a more intense mocha flavor the next day.
If you’re ready to take the tapioca plunge, this is the one. Find the recipe for Chocolate Espresso Tapioca Pudding with Kahlúa Whipped Cream at Baked Sunday Mornings and prepare to have your pudding world rocked. Rich, creamy, and sooo much flavor– you’ll love it. Check out how the other bakers liked it too! 🙂
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2015.