Winter Cold and Tapioca Pudding

We are officially in the middle of Winter. I managed to catch a minor cold. Nothing serious, just enough to keep me home under quarantine for a couple of days.  I can slip into the bedroom for an afternoon nap, after preheating my bed with the electric blanket on high.  I wear my cozy grey sweater with my black yoga pants and wool socks.  I’ve been treated by the Mister to his famous cure all Bloody Mary as well as Hot and Sour soup from our favorite Chinese restaurant. I even had some leftover Italian Pantry Soup from a few days ago.  Spicy and hot seems to cure what ails me. Hot tea and honey at 3am when the world is quiet….and I am not. Throw in a box of Puffs with lotion and I am on the road to recovery.

I needed just a bit more comfort today so I made some Tapioca Pudding. It’s the stuff my mom would make. I’m sure my grandmother made it too. The Mister also loves this blast from the past. His Midwest mom and grandmother also made it.

I don’t know why it is called Minute Tapioca. The first instruction on the box says to soak it for five minutes. Then, to stir constantly until it comes to a rolling boil.  That takes about fifteen minutes.  Then, to pull it off the heat and let it cool for twenty minutes. That comes to approximately forty five minutes of prep and cook time. How do they get away with saying that?  Heck, even the microwave instructions take many minutes. I digress.

You can follow the instructions on the box and you will get good Tapioca Pudding.  Follow my recipe and you will get really good Tapioca Pudding. The kind that makes me scoop it out of the pan just after I have brought it to a rolling boil and added the vanilla.

Steamy hot…..with lots of freshly grated nutmeg. That’s the way I like it…uh huh, uh huh.

It doesn’t work with skim milk, which is always what we have on hand, so I use evaporated milk.  I need to give it a try with almond milk, but that’s for another day.  Not today, today I needed tried and true.

 Really Good Tapioca Pudding  adapted from the Kraft Minute Tapioca Box

1 large egg, well beaten

1 12 ounce can evaporated milk + 1 can of water

4 tablespoons tapioca

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

freshly ground nutmeg, to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine the beaten egg, evaporated milk, sugar, water and tapioca.  Let sit in the pan for five minutes. Don’t skip this step.  Why?  Because you get these starchy glumps of tapioca that are not very good.  I did it one time just to see what would happen.  I took one for the team, so to speak. That’s the kind of gal I am.

On med to medium high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a rolling boil.  That means, as you stir, the mixture keeps bubbling away. When you have reached this point, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Let cool for about twenty minutes…if you can…we all know I couldn’t. Then pour into a medium bowl or individual serving dishes. Makes about six one half cup servings.  Sprinkle with nutmeg. Refrigerate.  May be eaten hot, warm, or cold.

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