Mom's favorite tapioca pudding recipes call for the real thing — no minute tapioca here. But, if you are pressed for time, they can easily be adapted for minute tapioca, and they'll still turn out okay.
Now, you can make the same old time puddings that my mother made. Choose one and treat yourself to a delicious homemade dessert.
Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)
Soak 1 cup pearl tapioca overnight in 2 cups milk, then add 4 cups milk. Boil till clear, then add salt, yolks of 4 eggs, 1 cup sugar, vanilla flavor to taste. Bake in oven (350°F).
When done, spread whites of eggs beaten stiff with 1/2 cup sugar on top and brown.
Two tablespoonfuls pearl tapioca soaked overnight, 1 pint of milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 4 apples pared, cored, and quartered, a little salt and nutmeg.
Bake two hours (350°F), stir twice during that time, and serve hot with whipped cream.
Practical Cooking and Dinner Getting (1876)
Pare and core (with a tube) six or seven apples; lay them in a buttered dish. Pour over a cupful of tapioca or sago one quart of boiling water; let it stand an hour; add two teacupfuls of sugar, a little lemon, vanilla, or wine; pour this over the apples, and bake an hour (350°F).
Peaches (fresh or canned) may be substituted and are an improvement.
Soak a teacupful of tapioca overnight in milk. The next day, stir into it the yolks of three eggs well beaten and a cupful of sugar.
Place a quart of milk on the fire, let it come to the boiling-point, and then stir in the tapioca, and let the whole cook until it has thickened; then take it off the fire, and stir in the whites of the eggs beaten to a froth. Flavor to taste.
A small portion of the beaten whites of the eggs can be saved to decorate the top. Stir into the latter a little sugar, put it into a paper funnel, press it out over the top of the pudding according to fancy, and place it in the oven a few moments to brown the meringue.
Suggestions and Experience (1908)
A good hastily cooked dessert for a busy day or when unexpected company drops in and the larder is bare (especially if you are five miles from even a small town, as I am), is to take one cupful of tapioca, wash and place in a double boiler; when tender, add one pint of milk, butter size of an egg; one saltspoonful of salt.
When this has cooked a few minutes, add three well-beaten eggs, and sugar to taste, stir just long enough to cook the eggs. It makes a nice light creamy dessert pudding. Any added flavoring may be used. —Mrs. James Nicholl, Idaho
The White House Cook Book (1913)
Five tablespoonfuls of tapioca, one quart of milk, two ounces of butter, a cupful of sugar, four eggs, flavoring of vanilla or bitter almonds.
Wash the tapioca and let it stew gently in the milk on low heat for a quarter of an hour, occasionally stirring it; then let it cool, mix with it the butter, sugar, and eggs, which should be well-beaten, and flavor with either of the above ingredients.
Butter a dish, put in the pudding, and bake in a moderate oven (350°F) for an hour. If the pudding is boiled, add a little more tapioca and boil it in a buttered baking dish one and a half hours.
This makes a most delightful dessert. Soak overnight a large teacupful of tapioca in cold water; in the morning, put half of it in a buttered yellow-ware baking dish, or any suitable pudding dish.
Sprinkle sugar over the tapioca; then on this put a quart of berries, sugar and the rest of the tapioca. Fill the dish with water, which should cover the tapioca about a quarter of an inch. Bake in a moderately hot (375°F) oven until it looks clear.
Eat cold with cream or custard. If not sweet enough, add more sugar at table; and in baking, if it seems too dry, more water is needed. A similar dish may be made, using peaches, either fresh or canned.
Put one teacupful of tapioca and one teaspoonful of salt into one pint and a half of water, and let it stand several hours where it will be quite warm, but not cook.
Peel six tart apples, take out the cores, fill them with sugar, in which is grated a little nutmeg and lemon peel, and put them in a pudding dish; over these pour the tapioca, first mixing with it one teaspoonful of melted butter, and a cupful of cold milk, and half a cupful of sugar; bake one hour (350°F); eat with sauce.
When fresh fruits are in season, this pudding is exceedingly nice with damsons, plums, red currants, gooseberries, or apples; when made with these, the pudding must be thickly sprinkled over with sifted sugar.
Canned or fresh peaches may be used in place of apples in the same manner, moistening the tapioca with the juice of the canned peaches in place of the cold milk. Very nice when quite cool to serve with sugar and cream.
I have always loved the creamy tapioca puddings Mom made, especially when she served them with a big dollop of her homemade strawberry jam on top.
On other occasions, she topped them with freshly whipped cream flavored with almond and that was delicious too. Homemade puddings are so good tasting!
I loved tapioca when I was a child. Its creamy smoothness and good taste were unparalleled. I jokingly called it frog's eggs, and Mom would accommodate sometimes by adding a drop or two of green food coloring. I still believe that desserts should be fun.
Enjoy trying these old fashioned tapioca pudding recipes and enjoy a delicious homemade dessert you'll be proud to serve your family.