Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chocolate Dream Tapioca

Chocolate Dream Tapioca
Dorcas Annette Walker

February is valentine month when all thoughts turn to hearts, love, roses, and chocolate candy. I plan to celebrate this month by indulging in chocolate and sharing chocolate recipes. My love affair with chocolate began as a small girl standing by the stove inhaling the rich aroma of cooking chocolate while watching my mother slowly cooked up chocolate cornstarch pudding. Chocolate pudding was a rare treat. Those were the days before you could run out and buy ready made puddings. I also think a deciding factor that made this dessert a rare occasion was the fact that it took time to cook up a pudding- something that my mother never had enough of as she worked full time, nursed my father who had numerous bleeds, and struggled to keep up with the housework. It was at my grandmother’s house where I had my first taste of tapioca pudding- quite a departure from the regular cornstarch puddings. My kids never were excited over the tapioca or cooked puddings I made and would roll their eyes as they grew older whenever I’d indulge myself. They preferred store bought puddings. Sad to say cooked puddings soon only grabbed my attention when I was sick. There is nothing as soothing for an upset stomach as a homemade cooked pudding. When both of my grandchildren were born I made cooked puddings every time they came to visit me. I still couldn’t convince my daughter the value of homemade cooked puddings- to her it was much simpler to grab a pack of ready made pudding at the store than to stand over a stove cooking up pudding. It did my heart good though to see my grandkids smack their tiny lips over my homemade puddings. Maybe I can instill in this generation an appreciation of homemade cooked puddings.

Tapioca is a flavorless starch ingredient from dried cassava roots native to South America that is processed similar like wheat made into pasta. Tapioca is prepared by boiling the roots for twenty-five minutes then cooled. It is then processed by baking into fine hard dried flakes. The small hard white spheres “pearl tapioca” is made by forcing the moist starch through sieves and then baked. In southern Asia a common way of preparing cassava is by cutting it into slices or wedges and frying it making it similar to our potato chips, wedges, or French fries. In Brazil tapioca is cooked, drained through a sieve, fried into a tortilla shape, and often sprinkled with cocoanut. During World War II’s Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia, many refugees survived on tapioca, which provided them with much needed carbohydrates and protein.

I just recently discovered an old recipe of chocolate tapioca in my pile of cookbooks. I was intrigued with the thought of combining tapioca and chocolate. I experimented around until I came up with what I call Chocolate Dream Tapioca. This elegant lush chocolate dessert will have all chocolate lovers smacking their lips in ecstasy over the smooth creamy taste of rich chocolate. Chocolate Dream Tapioca is an ideal light dessert to round off a classy meal. My Chocolate Dream Tapioca takes about ten minutes (not counting the chilling time) to prepare and this recipe serves four.

Chocolate Dream Tapioca

Mix together with a Wisk in a saucepan:
1 c sugar
1/3 c Hershey’s or store brand Cocoa
4 tb quick-cooking tapioca
4 c milk (I used 2%)
1 egg
Let stand for five minutes. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in:
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond flavoring
Pour into dessert dishes, cover with saran wrap, and chill. Garnish with cool whip, chocolate curls, and serve!

Weekly tip: Tapioca can also be used as a thickening agent in soups, pies, and gravy’s!


~~Louise~~ said...

Hi Dorcas,
Great blog! I'm going to give your recipe a try in celebration of Minute Tapioca turning 100 yrs. old this year.

Here's a tidbit for ya:
"Tapioca Superlative" was invented in 1894 by a Boston woman, Susan Stavers, who made it from tapioca flakes that she ran through her coffee grinder.

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Thanks, Louise, for the great tibit about tapioca celebrating 100 years!