Disclaimer: Any reference to being a domestic goddess is done entirely with levity in mind. I in no way consider myself to be a DG. While I admire those who grow most of their food and make most of their gifts, I would also be quite happy with take-out and buying everything online.
Since my son started Kindergarten I have begun buying more "snack" items. You know, things that can be fished out of the refrigerator with one crusty eye open and flung into a waiting lunch bag early in the morning. Actually, my eyes aren't that "crusty" in the morning, but you know what I mean - cheese sticks, pudding cups, Go-gurts and the like. And of course, they need to be gluten free.
My son picked out some tapioca pudding on one of our shopping trips to Winco. I think it was a Jello brand and at first I cautioned, "I don't think that's what you think it is." However, he fell in love with it! The next time I bought the "Kozy Shack" brand. Not only does it have very basic ingredients, it is also labeled "Gluten Free". Doesn't that just make you feel so good to see that?
Unfortunately, my son has fallen out of love with this nurturing snack. It seems he noticed the little "things" in it and had a textural awakening of the 5-year-old kind. Drats!
Well, I kind of miss having tapioca pudding in my fridge and besides, I have a monstrous bag of tapioca pearls sitting in a tote with other various odds and ends. (At one time I thought my mill could break down these puppies, but they are a no-no for the expensive mill that needs to last me the next twenty years).
So, I made my own pudding tonight. It is yummy and I kind of like having made my own. I do want to see if it is possible to do this in the crock pot as stirring a pot for as long as I did with a little one on my hip is not practical in this house. Note: After posting this, I did venture over to a favorite site, "A Year of Crockpotting" and found a recipe for this.
While I was trying to get it to thicken up I consulted online about "how to thicken up tapioca pudding" and found this information at Messy Gourmet. It reads a bit like Alton Brown of Good Eats. I love that man! He speaks in a way my brain can understand. Learning the food science of recipes and procedures is so awesome! Anyway, this article explains how and why the starch thickens and produces pudding. Perhaps you will find it as useful as I did.
But before the recipe, here are some interesting articles and snippets concerning tapioca:
What is Tapioca?
A Tapioca Time Bomb - You've got to read this!
Various Recipes from Allrecipes.com (note: verify if one you want to make is gluten-free)
More Tapioca Recipes
Nutrition facts for Tapioca (remember, this is why it is called "comfort food".)
And now, a basic, un-earth shattering recipe for tapioca pudding:
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup tapioca pearls
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir together the milk, tapioca, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 5 minutes longer.
Stir some of the hot milk mixture (1 cup total) into the beaten eggs, about 1/3 cup at a time until incorporated. Stir the egg mixture back into the tapioca until well mixed. Bring the pudding to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat; cook and stir until it thickens up to pudding-like consistency. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Here is a link to a more lengthy article about cooking tapioca pudding to reach good results. The recipe here calls for less sugar (which I think I want to try next time) and only using the egg yolks.