Coconut and Banana Tapioca Pudding
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 15 minutes Soaking Time: 15 hours Cook Time: 1 hour
For generations, tapioca pudding was a grandma-style staple across the U.S. Although that trend predates even me, I love tapioca and if you’ve ever had bubble tea, you’ve had giant tapioca. Bringing this home-style pudding back into kitchen again to my mind means adding sweet and creamy bananas. The coconut keeps this non-dairy and although it’s sort of the ugliest princess at the pudding ball, this pudding is simple and yummy. Welcome home, tapioca.
Coconut and Banana Tapioca Pudding:
½ cup (80 grams) medium- or large-pearl tapioca
2½ cups coconut milk
¾ cup coconut cream
2 large ripe bananas (or very ripe plantains), peeled and mashed (about 1¼ cups)
1 cup (204 grams) granulated sugar, divided
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
Fresh banana slices
Toasted sweetened coconut
- Soak the tapioca: If you are starting the day—or the night—before you want to make the pudding, pour the tapioca and enough water to cover it by 4 inches into a large mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate for least 15 hours (or up to 24 hours for the large-pearl tapioca). Drain and set aside. (If you want to make this all in one day, see Kitchen Tips).
- When the tapioca pearls have been soaked and drained, start the pudding: In a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the coconut milk and cream, the bananas, ½ cup of the sugar and the salt and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture just comes to a gentle boil.
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, preferably with a spout, combine the eggs and the remaining ½ cup sugar and whisk vigorously until the sugar dissolves and the eggs lighten in color.
- Continue whisking vigorously and drizzle in the coconut milk mixture (see Kitchen Tips). Pour the mixture into the saucepan, still over medium heat. Add the drained tapioca pearls and stir well. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 to 55 minutes, until the pearls are soft but intact. Stir in the vanilla bean paste. The mixture will seem a bit thin for pudding, but it will thicken as it cools.
- Spoon into individual serving dishes, cover with plastic wrap and let cool thoroughly. Just before serving, garnish with banana slices and toasted sweetened coconut.
- Tapioca, a pearl-sized derivative of the cassava plant, must be soaked before you use it. If you want to use tapioca in a recipe and do everything in one day, use the hot water soaking method: Pour it into a large bowl filled with enough hot water to cover it by 4 inches, and soak for 3 hours. Drain and add fresh hot water once during soaking. If you are starting the day—or the night—before you want to make the pudding, combine the tapioca and enough water to cover it by 4 inches in a large mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate for least 15 hours (or up to 24 hours for the large pearls). Drain and set aside.
- If your bowl wobbles around precariously while you are whisking with one hand and pouring with the other, dampen a kitchen towel and fashion it into a round “nest” on your kitchen counter. Nestle the bowl into it securely and continue whisking and pouring.