Cats are easily attracted to toys that move around a lot and smell like catnip. I'm like a cat, except I don't need the catnip: multicolored anything gets me excited.
A page in a magazine with a collage of shoes in many colors? I stare. A market stand with an array of fruits and vegetables? I'm transfixed. A sundae with multicolored sprinkles, now don't even bring it up. I go insane.
Imagine my happiness when, during my last trek to the Asian supermarket in Southeast Paris, I came across multicolored tapioca pearls. Teeny, tiny, tapioca pearls. In French, they're called perles de Japon, and since pretty much anything that comes out of Japan is cute, I'm a taker for the French name.
As much as I loved looking at the pearls, I just didn't get around to using them. On some nights, I would think of simmering them in coconut milk, but never got around to it. Many evenings, I would just stare at the bag, wondering why they didn't make tapioca pearls I could just pop into my mouth. I mean those colors! Really! How much of a torture is it to have all those cute little pearls and not be able to dig into the bag and munch on a handful?
After our trip to Vietnam, where tapioca pearls were part of our daily diet, and this post on Chocolate & Zucchini, I didn't think twice. I had almond milk, I had tapioca pearls. Time to get started.
The process is quick: cook and cool. I wouldn't say this blew my mind, but I think it's a great base to start experimenting more with tapioca pearls. Almond extract and crunchy slivered almonds would have been enjoyable, as would be upping the vanilla factor by a few drops.
Tapioca desserts are fun to make--a great idea for cooking with children--and probably one of the easiest ways to get a filling dessert on the table in no time.
And, honestly, I would make these again, just to spill those tiny little pearls everywhere again. Did I say spill? I meant pour...into measuring cups. Maybe.
Tapioca and Almond Milk Pudding
makes four small puddings
1/4 c. small tapioca pearls
1/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. almond milk (or any other type of milk)
1/2 TS vanilla extract (I would add a little more next time)
1 drop almond extract
1/4 TS salt
Mix milk and flavor extracts. Bring to a simmer, add tapioca, and stir. Cover and cook for approximately fifteen minutes, over medium heat.
Remove from heat, add sugar and salt, and stir. Place in four small cups or one medium bowl and let cool.
If not serving soon, refrigerate and serve at (or near) room temperature.