Last evening, SB and I invited friends in for dinner and drinks - a celebration of summer and the beginnings of the garden haul. There were fresh greens for a gorgeous salad, fresh green beans for steaming, an Italian pulled pork ragu over creamy, cheesey baked polenta, and this lighter-than-air tapioca with beautiful fresh raspberries to top things off.
When I came upon this recipe in Heidi Swanson's cookbook, I knew immediately that it would be a special dessert. The flavours are so light and the consistency of the tapioca is so smooth and velvety ... the addition of the rosewater lends an exotic aroma and a hint of herby, floral flavour that mingles with that lemon zest. My goodness, it was delicious. To boot, I opted to serve the dessert just warm with chilled berries dropped atop. There were extras for adding when the initial few were scooped up with a spoonful of the warm tapioca. Yum ... like sweet caviar on a spoon!
This is an easy dessert to have when you're busy making a larger meal project ... you can make it ahead of time and leave it in the pan (covered after it has cooled a bit.). You just do a quick re-heat when you want to serve it. It can also be served cold, but I think it loses its velvety softness and 'goes to curd' when it's chilled. It's all a matter of preference ... give me warm velvet anyday!
Tapioca with Lemon Zest and Rosewater
a slightly adapted Heidi Swanson recipe
2 ½ c. milk
½ c. light cream
⅓ c. small pearl tapioca
2 large egg yolks
¼ tsp. fine grain salt
⅓ c. clover honey
zest of 1 small lemon
¼ to ¾ tsp. rosewater
½ pint fresh raspberries for topping the tapioca
4 to 6 pretty ramekins, cocktail glasses or other small serving dishes
- Place the tapioca in the bottom of a heavy saucepan and add 1 cup of the cold milk. Set the pan aside to allow the tapioca to soak for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
- Whisk the egg yolks into the remaining milk and cream. Add this to the tapioca. Stir in the honey and the salt and place the pan over medium heat.
- Bring gently to a boil, stirring frequently, especially when the mixture begins to really heat up.
- When the tapioca boils, lower the heat and gently simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently so that the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- When the tapioca is a shiny pearlescent bead in a clear shiny shell, taste. It should have a bit of substance, but it should not be a hard bead.
- Remove the pan from the heat, when it tastes right to you. Stir in the lemon zest and the rosewater.
- Let the tapioca cool slightly and thicken up a bit more as it cools. Spoon into pretty dishes and serve warm, topped with perfect fresh raspberries.
A word about the rosewater ... it's strong, so start with the lower measurement and bring it up to your flavour preference. Also realize that the rosewater scent and flavour strengthen if you choose to chill it and have it sitting for any length of time. Measure accordingly. It's all about the hint of flavour and scent ... the sensory titillation ... kind of like what you want to tell your friends or the old lady in the mall who wear too heavy a dose of perfume ... know what I mean?
Yum! Enjoy this easy indulgence. It's wonderful. I'm so glad there was a small amount that was leftover from last night's dessert. I had it for a late breakfast ... I know. I'm bad.