This evening I was home and again saw the box of tapioca. Tapioca, made properly, is only second to creme brule as one of my favorite deserts. No I’m not bothered with the pearls, what other people refer to as fish eggs. I’ve had fish eggs, no comparison other than shape and then it’s only a maybe at best.
So here I am, measure the tapioca, measure the milk, incidentally I am lactose intolerant so used almond milk which is excellent by itself. Separate the egg, yolk in the pan, white in a bowl. I reach for the sugar…sugar…hello, where are you?
Apparently when my family returned to our home in Arizona and I stayed in Texas for work, they took the sugar and now…4 months later I’m finally noticing. Yea, I’m a big time sugar fan as you can tell. So what to use? I saw a container of powdered sugar, something I don’t use much except on crepes or dutch babies, nope, keep looking.
Ah ha, I spied my sweetener of choice, honey! Not just any honey, wildflower from the high plains of Arizona just South of I-40 and East of Holbrook.
Three tablespoons (more or less) in the pan with the egg yolk, tapioca and almond milk, another three in with the egg white I’ve already worked on with the mixer.
Now I normally do really light egg whites, almost to the point of stiff peaks, I like very light and fluffy tapioca, especially right after it’s cooled down just enough to eat. Honey and stiff peaks seem to be mutually exclusive, must be the moisture in the honey. Once the contents of the pan warmed up, the honey came off the bottom and blended nicely. By the way, rather than being white, everything was a nice…honey color, how better to describe it?
So it’s finally time, the tapioca has boiled, it’s off the heat, the egg whites that look more like an over whipped version of French vanilla ice cream go into the pot, the obligatory shot of vanilla and we wait. Yes, the longest 20 minutes of anyones’ life must be the space between adding the vanilla and when it’s finally okay to sample.
The appearance, it’s almost like the honey gave up it’s color to the tapioca beads themselves, almost like I’d added a bunch of cinnamon to the mix. The flavor, well the flavor was a complete surprise, like caramel or butterscotch more than tapioca. Expecting the wonderful flavor of tapioca, it took a few seconds to realize that while different, it was actually pretty good! Maybe I’ll add a little butter to the pan next time and see if I can tease a butterscotch flavor out a bit.
I served a cup and put the remainder in the fridge under plastic wrap so it can set up more. I always thought it was funny that fresh, warm tapioca can be almost texture-less, so light and airy, but once cooled it has an entirely different mouth feel. It will be interesting to see how this batch tastes and feels in the morning.
Give it a try and for heavens sake, throw out the plastic bear and go buy yourself some real honey! Camelthorn is one of my favorites.