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Friday, February 19, 2010

A Taste of the Tropical


Usually, I update this once a week, which gives me enough time to make something yummy, take and edit pictures, and still do my Accounting problem set that I always put off until the night before/morning that it is due. But I have three desserts to write about so this update is a little sooner than normal, which I doubt anyone will complain about because that only means more sugary goodness to see and eat!

Every Tuesday, I meet with my co-event chairs to discuss Relay for Life. Since these meetings are at nighttime after dinner, dessert is always in order, so I've started whipping up something for us to eat to keep us energised as we plow through various logistical and attendance issues. Last weeks' creation wasn't a baked good but pudding! Coconut tapioca pudding, to be exact.



When making tapioca puddings at home, most people just boil milk and water in equal parts and cook the small tapioca pearls until they are soft and translucent. However, tapioca is traditionally an east Asian dessert, and those types of desserts use coconut milk quite regularly, which is why I decided to add it to mine. In addition, I infused the water with some tropical flavours of ginger, cilantro, and lemon juice as well.


Once the puddings set up in the ramekins, I found that chocolate and hazelnuts make a wonderful topping, sweet and crunchy. Of course, you can top your puddings with anything you desire, or not top them at all. If you infused the mixture enough, the ginger and lemon flavours should be enough to give you your tropical fix!


Tropical Tapioca Puddings

ingredients
1 2x1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, sliced
6 fresh cilantro sprigs
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups water

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup small pearl tapioca* (not quick-cooking)
1 13.5- to 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk*

Pieces of chocolate-hazelnut bars [Garnish, optional]

preparation

Combine first 3 ingredients in food processor; blend 20 seconds. Transfer to medium saucepan; add 2 cups water and bring to boil. Remove pan from heat and let steep uncovered 20 minutes. Pour mixture into strainer set over heavy large saucepan; press on solids to release flavored liquid. Discard solids in strainer.

Add milk and sugar to flavored liquid in pan; bring to boil. Stir in tapioca; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until pudding thickens and is reduced to 2 1/4 cups, stirring frequently, about 35 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Divide amongst ramekins, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Garnish with chopped chocolate-hazelnut pieces.

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