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Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

 Here’s a dreamy creamy soothing-to-the-soul dark chocolate tapioca pudding–in memory of my father. Daddy loved tapioca pudding. Was it the milky soft chewy little pearls? You’ll love this old-fashioned unassuming comfort food, a delicious treat for Father’s Day! Or anytime you crave a simple chocolate dessert.

Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding with strawberries in wine glasses with red check tablecloth

white tapioca pearls and chopped dark chocolate with knife for Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

About tapioca pearls for Chocolate Tapioca Pudding:

  • 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.
  • Because the pearls keep the right texture and thicken the pudding  perfectly, I like Bob’s Red Mill brand (affiliate link.)
  • 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 chocolate pudding; 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.
  • There’s hardly a dent in my bag of small white pearls, even after testing and re-testing this dark chocolate tapioca pudding. Maple Chai Bubble Tea is on repeat around here. Both bubble tea and this rich chocolate pudding call for such small amounts of tapioca–I still have extra tapioca pearls in the pantry!
  • This recipe is adapted from one on the back of the bag of Bob’s Red Mill small pearl tapioca. (Affiliate link.)

My sisters and I called him Daddy. Not Dad, not Father—Daddy. He was 48 years old when I was born, the sixth of 8 children.

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

Letty on the piano next to her Father Because I was still a young girl when he died, memories of Daddy are scarce. I can remember this–sitting on his lap in a rocking chair, and Daddy singing an Scottish nursery rhyme. This recipe reminds me of the lilting song and Daddy’s favorite dessert, tapioca pudding!

What food memories do you share with your father?

5 cups of Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding with strawberries, ready to eat

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  • #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

  • 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
    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

  • Virginia Moore

    The story of your father brought tears to my eyes How very honoring! Thank you for sharing it with us. Reply · 18 June, 2019

    • Thank you so much! I am lucky to be his daughter. Reply · 18 June, 2019

  • I love that you are offering sugar-free and dairy-free options! Reply · 20 June, 2019

    • Thanks Caron. I’m always looking to “healthify” desserts. 😉 Reply · 20 June, 2019

  • Teri Thomas

    Letish, What is your suggestion for an egg substitute to make this yummy pudding vegan? Reply · 8 February, 2021

    • Teri,
      Thank you for the question. I would look for a liquid egg or egg white substitute in the dairy case at the supermarket. Or use whipped chickpea brine aka aquafaba to mimic the whipped egg white. Maybe add a mashed overripe banana to the custard–to sit in for the richness the egg yolk brings to this pudding. PS Many vegans don’t eat honey. Reply · 10 February, 2021

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