Baked Sunday Mornings: Chocolate Espresso Tapioca Pudding

Asian cuisine features a lot of chewy foods -- we are the people responsible for bringing you mochi, fish cakes, fried sesame balls with lotus paste, and bubble tea with tapioca pearls. The Taiwanese term to describe a food with a desirable chewy texture is "Q." I love Q foods, and was very happy that Baked Sunday Mornings gave me the opportunity to make tapioca pudding for the first time.

Besides the fact that the pudding recipe requires you to spend some quality time in front of the stove stirring, it's pretty straightforward. You soak small pearl tapioca in heavy cream for 30 minutes; add more cream, milk, and egg yolks; simmer until the mixture thickens and the tapioca is translucent; add in instant espresso powder, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder; incorporate tempered egg whites that have been beaten with sugar to soft peaks; cook again briefly until the mixture is uniform; add vanilla; and chill.

I did run into a little hiccup with the egg whites. I beat them by hand; I almost always whip egg whites or heavy cream by hand with a balloon whisk because it's the easiest way to avoid overbeating. The ratio of sugar to egg whites was so high (1/2 cup of sugar to two egg whites) that my mixture looked a lot like freshly-made marshmallow. My egg whites had very fine and dense bubbles and I couldn't get them to hold soft peaks. But I figured since the whites were going to be incorporated into the pudding and cooked for a bit, it probably wouldn't matter.
I divided up the pudding between small glasses and chilled them overnight. I skipped the step of making KahlĂșa whipped cream to garnish the pudding; after all, the pudding consisted primarily of heavy cream to begin with.

My husband Tom and I loved this pudding. The flavor was dark and rich without any bitterness, and the texture was thick and mousselike -- very smooth, but dense enough that you could turn a spoonful of pudding upside down and it wouldn't budge. My only criticism of the pudding is the layer of skin that developed on top -- in the photo above, you can some pieces of the pudding skin on the spoon. The tapioca balls were what I would describe as "al dente" -- still a bit firm in the center, but still pleasantly chewy. There was a lot of tapioca in the pudding and I enjoyed getting a generous amount of it in every bite.

I don't think this pudding needs whipped cream at all. While it's rich, it's not overly heavy. I know that tapioca can be a divisive ingredient, but if you're a fan of "Q," this flavorful pudding is deeply satisfying.

Recipe: "Chocolate Espresso Tapioca Pudding with KahlĂșa Whipped Cream" from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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Unknown said…
Please make this again...soon!
Anonymous said…
Looks delicious!