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Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

Daddy loved creamy tapioca pudding for dessert. Was it the milky soft chewy little pearls? Or was it because tapioca pudding is such a comfort food, an old-fashioned treat that brings back childhood memories? Here’s a dreamy creamy soothing-to-the-soul dark chocolate tapioca pudding–in memory of my Dad. For Father’s Day, let’s cook up some sweet nostalgia. 

Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

We called him Daddy, all of us. Not Dad, not Father—Daddy. He was 48 years old when I was born, the sixth of 8 children. Because of his job as director of USO Centers in the western states, he was gone a great deal.

Like so many of his generation, Daddy smoked cigarettes. Which triggered the strokes, the first one when he was 58.

Daddy used to sing a Scottish folk song, a simple nursery rhyme.  For me, it’s an early glimmer of love and a favorite memory. Me sitting on his lap in a rocking chair, in the living room, Daddy singing. He could carry a tune.

Father's Day and Chocolate Tapioca PuddingMemories of Daddy are scarce, because I was still a young girl when he died. So I sing and cook to remember the sweet times, of the lilting song and creamy tapioca pudding.

Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

There’s hardly a dent in my bag of small white pearls, even after testing and re-testing this dark chocolate tapioca pudding and my Maple Chai Bubble Tea—both recipes call for such small amounts of tapioca.

I’ll use those pearls up even if it takes until next Father’s Day. I’m inventing orange-scented white chocolate tapioca pudding as I write. When you invite me to dinner, I’ll bring dessert.

What food memories do you share with your father? Tell us about them in the comment section below this recipe.

Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding notes:

  • Tapioca has a few different incarnations—small and large pearls, instant tapioca and tapioca flour, aka tapioca starch. All have thickening power. Use either the small or large pearls in this recipe.
  • This recipe is adapted from one on the back of the bag of Bob’s Red Mill small pearl tapioca.
  • I settled on Bob’s Red Mill brand because the pearls kept the right texture and thickened the pudding  perfectly. With another brand of small pearl tapioca (not instant), the results were not as successful.
  • Soak tapioca pearls in water before cooking in milk, about 30 minutes for small pearls, a bit longer for larger pearls. They should be squishy on the outside, but not all the way through before adding them to the milk. Be careful to not pre-soak either size pearls too long or they will become mushy.
  • I don’t recommend instant tapioca for this recipe; the classic pearly texture will be lost. Instant tapioca and tapioca flour are wonderful in fruit pies–the thickened fruit juices run clear, in contrast to cloudy, as with cornstarch or flour.

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Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding
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Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 
This dark chocolate tapioca pudding is classic old-fashioned comfort food. The rich creamy chocolate goes well with strawberries, raspberries or sliced bananas. Serve with cookies, either homemade or purchased.
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca (not instant)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 cups almond milk (see note)
  • ¼ teaspoon Real Salt
  • 1/3 cup honey , maple syrup, or agave syrup
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped (I used 63% cacao)
  • 2 eggs , separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon rum , or coffee liqueur
  • Strawberries , as needed
Instructions
  1. Soak the tapioca in the water for 30 minutes. (see note)
  2. In a saucepan, mix the almond milk, salt and honey together.
  3. Without draining, add the soaked tapioca to the milk and honey.
  4. Over medium flame, bring the mixture just to a boil, whisking very frequently.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tapioca has thickened, and the pearls are soft and translucent.
  6. Add the chocolate, stirring to melt.
  7. Temper the yolks by whisking a little of the hot mixture into the yolks. Then whisk the tempered yolks back into the pudding. Cook on low flame, whisking, for about 2 minutes.
  8. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form a peak that folds over.
  9. Temper the whites by stirring some of the hot mixture into them, then fold the tempered whites back into the pudding. Cook another minute, gently folding and stirring to incorporate the whites into the chocolate.
  10. Stir in the vanilla and rum, making sure everything is well mixed.
  11. Portion the pudding into individual glasses or cups. You can also serve from one larger dish.
  12. Serve warm or cold. (The pudding thickens as it cools.)
  13. If not serving immediately, cover with pieces of plastic wrap, placing the film directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
  14. Serve with strawberries, if desired.
Recipe Notes
  • I use almond milk because it’s non-dairy and it’s in my fridge. Recipes usually call for whole milk. The choice is yours.
  • Be careful to not pre-soak the pearls too long or they will become mushy.

12 comments

  • #4 of 8

    I remember we used to eat the tapioca pudding while it was still hot.
    couldn’t wait for it to chill. Reply · 13 June, 2014

    • Letty

      I like it warm too–especially chocolate! Reply · 13 June, 2014

  • Mary Thoen

    Looks yummy! I’ll be trying it for sure. I remember Daddy hiding Russell Stover chocolate patties from Mom in the piano 🙂 Reply · 13 June, 2014

    • Letty

      That’s a sweet memory. Thanks Mary! Reply · 14 June, 2014

  • This looks fabulous Letty! I love Tapioca pudding! I always make the classic vanilla so I’ll have to try your version too! Reply · 24 June, 2014

  • […] Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding by Letty’s Kitchen […] Reply · 24 June, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks for the link to your coconut milk whipped cream. I love these vegan alternatives to dairy whipped cream. Reply · 24 June, 2014

  • Liz

    The pudding looks great and I love the photo of your wonderful Catholic Daddy, may he rest in peace. Reply · 4 January, 2015

    • Letty

      thanks Ann. Yup, he was a good one, even though I didn’t know him in adulthood. He died when I was in 7th grade. Reply · 4 January, 2015

  • Dennis Halloran

    Mom used to make Tapioka for us all as a treat,
    Little Known facts about Dad
    Class President and Captain of the football team at Bismarck, ND HS in
    1922
    First two Years were at Providence College, and transferred to St Mary’s College in Oakland(before Moraga)
    Did graduate work in Boyology at Notre Dame
    Among his several jobs before USO-NCCS, he was the Director of Social Services in Orange and other counties after the Depression Reply · 18 June, 2015

  • Adela

    I have to tell you- I just made this pudding! The minut I read your recipe, the sixth pudding recipe in 20 minutes, I knew this was the one I wanted to try.

    It’s FANTASTIC! Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait for it to cool, and I couldn’t stop at sampling only one.

    DEE-liscious Reply · 25 June, 2016

    • Thanks Adela. My Dad would be proud of you!! Reply · 26 June, 2016

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