After making dinner on Saturday, I had most of a can of coconut milk left over, so I decided to make tapioca pudding, flavored with lemon zest and juice, which gave it a lemon curd flavor. I like to serve tapioca with a fruit compote topping, but I didn’t have any fresh fruit. Instead, I soaked some dried cranberries in whiskey, then simmered them in the whiskey, plus some water and sugar (about 1/2 tablespoon) and a bit of lemon zest.
“Lemon Curd” Tapioca Pudding
1 can of coconut milk (or what is left of the can after making curried veggies)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup small tapioca pearls (not instant, although if that’s what you have, follow the box directions)
zest and juice of one lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pour the coconut milk into a large measuring cup and add enough water (or any unsweetened milk) to make 3 cups.
If your tapioca needs to soak, put it in a covered pot with 1 cup of the liquid for an hour.
Add the rest of the liquid, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil and stir for 15 minutes. Bring down to barely a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes more (until the tapioca goes all transparent).
If it turns out your tapioca needed to be soaked but you didn’t/forgot, you will know at this point because the pudding will be getting really, really thick and the pearls will still have a solid white center. It’s okay, you can rescue it! Add 1/8 cup liquid and stir. Are the tapioca transparent now? If not, add another 1/8 cup liquid and stir. Continue like this until the tapioca is cooked through. It’s sort of like making risotto. You don’t want to add too much liquid at once because your tapioca might finish cooking while the pudding is still liquid-y, and then you either have runny pudding or you have to overcook it.
Let cool for 20 minutes. Add the vanilla and zest. Put into serving bowls, top with compote, and chill. Or eat warm!