I've never made tapioca pudding before and always loved it as a kid. When I set my sights on making a rich, glorious version with coconut milk as a base instead of milk and egg, I didn't realize I'd have a runaway hit in my household. But that's exactly what happened.
To be fair, I'm currently obsessed with all things coconut, as evidenced here and here. I can't help myself! I love the decadence and the non–dairiness of it all. I thought it might lend a natural richness and have a perfect floral taste when playing against all those chewy tapioca pearls. I was right! Love it when that happens.
This pudding is great, but the smoked sesame seeds really put it over the edge. Have you worked with this ingredient before? They have a unique taste that adds earthiness and complexity to a velvety pudding. I highly recommend this additional element, but they aren't absolutely necessary.
Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Smoked Sesame Seeds
2 cups almond milk, divided
1/3 cup tapioca pearls
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water mixed in
1/4 teaspoon salt
Smoked sesame seeds (for garnish)
In a large bowl, soak the tapioca overnight (or for at least 4 hours) in 1 cup of the almond milk. When you're ready to cook, add the other cup of almond milk and warm the tapioca and almond milk mixture over medium heat. Wait until the pudding is boiling, then add the coconut milk, vanilla, and agave. Cook for another 10 or 12 minutes, stirring continuously.
Finally, add the cornstarch-water mixture and salt, cooking and stirring for five minutes. Cool in a Tupperware or glass bowl for at least an hour before serving. Or eat a little warm, it's wonderful! When serving, sprinkle a few smoked sesame seeds on top.
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)