Maple Tapioca Pudding

This is a nice simple pudding for fans of tapioca - but don't forget to stir it! I did, and ended up with a horrible black mess the first time I tried to make this. I don't think it was even boiling properly before it was burnt. Stir, stir, stir! Otherwise, this is very easy and the maple flavour comes through well. I served mine with some of our canned cherries from last summer - delicious.

6 servings
30 minutes cook time; allow 24 hours for soaking, cooling, etc.

Maple Tapioca Pudding
1/2 cup pearl tapioca
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark maple syrup
1 extra-large egg
1 cup whole milk or light cream

Soak the tapioca in the water and salt for 12 hours, or overnight. Bring to boil and boil steadily, STIRRING CONSTANTLY until the tapioca is tender and clear, about 20 minutes. Tapioca will burn very, very easily so it must be stirred, if not actually constantly, then at least extremely frequently even BEFORE the pot reaches the boil. You have been warned. (And my pot has been scrubbed, sigh.)

You can do this up to a day ahead if you like, and keep the tapioca in the fridge until wanted. If you do this, add the maple syrup before putting it in the fridge. Otherwise, when you are ready to proceed, add the maple syrup.

Beat the egg well, and beat the milk or cream into it. Slowly beat this mixture into the (at least slightly) cooled tapioca and syrup. (You don't want it hot enough that the egg will cook on contact and go curdled.)

When it is well blended and not any lumpier than tapioca will always be, put the pudding back on the stove over medium-low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until hot and steaming but just short of boiling, again to avoid curdling.

Remove from the heat at once, and pour into a large serving dish or individual serving bowls. Cool, and serve well chilled.

- Jennifer Sanders, Seasonal Ontario Food

For more inspiring, local recipes visit Jennifer Sanders' blog, Seasonal Ontario Food.