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  RECIPE TITLE "VANILLA TAPIOCA PUDDING WITH CINNAMON TOAST" Author: In the Sweet Kitchen: The Definitive Baker's Companion Copyright © 2001 by Regan Daley

yields 6 time--difficultymoderate

debated calling this something other than tapioca, because so many people seem to have such dreadful memories of gloppy, bland pudding they were forced to eat as children. A tragedy, as good tapioca pudding is truly wonderful: Sweet and delicate and creamy. It is super on its own, but the cinnamon toast makes it just about the best comfort food going.


3-1/3 cups whole milk (3.5%)
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
4-1/2 tablespoons minute or instant tapioca
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split

1/4 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 thick slices brioche, challah, or other soft, rich, white bread, preferably a day old
Unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream (36%), whipped with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for garnish


  1. Combine the milk, egg yolk, tapioca, sugar, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan, and whisk to blend. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds and the hull to the pot. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then place the pot over medium heat.
  2. Whisk slowly but constantly until the mixture just barely reaches the boil, about 13 to 18 minutes. Don't let the custard truly boil, but remove it from the heat just as the bubbles begin to surface. The grains of tapioca should be plump and very soft. Pour the pudding into a clean bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface, poking a few holes in the plastic with a sharp knife to allow the steam to escape. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until cooled. Divide the custard between 6 dessert goblets or bowls. Cover the dishes with plastic wrap and chill until set, at least 4 hours.
  3. Preheat the broiler. Blend together the brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Lay the slices of bread on a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Watch closely and remove the sheet when the bread looks pale gold. Turn the slices over and return the sheet to the broiler until golden on this side as well. Lightly butter one side of each slice and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar. Cut the slices in half or quarters and serve immediately with the tapioca, which has been topped with a dollop of the lightly sweetened whipped cream.

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