Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Chocolate Tapioca Pudding: 2 Recipes for National Tapioca Day!

Tapioca, along with junket and pudding, were standard desserts when I was growing up. I knew what pudding was, but never junket or tapioca. As a child that was fine, but as an adult interested in food and food derivations, this holiday--National Tapioca Day--got my attention.

According to Ask.Yahoo, tapioca is a root starch derived from the cassava, or yuca plant. It's often used to thicken soups and sweeten the flavor of baked goods, and it makes a great pudding. The cassava plant is native to South America and the West Indies, where its thick, fibrous roots are used in a variety of forms: bread flour, laundry starch, an alcoholic brew, and of course, tapioca pudding.

From Wikipedia: The pudding can be made from scratch using tapioca in a variety of forms: flakes, coarse meal, sticks, and pearls. Many commercial packaged mixes are also available. British schoolchildren have traditionally nicknamed the dish frog spawn, due to its appearance. American children often call it fish eyes and glue.

And here's a reason not to make tapioca at home -- cassava roots have traces of cyanide in them! The ever-resourceful Mayans, the first known to use tapioca, figured out how to extract this poison for their blow darts, leaving the uncontaminated roots free for eating. Perhaps this information would be better served on my other blog, Mystery Fanfare.

So a processed tapioca should be used in the following recipes. The first recipe for Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding recipe is adapted from Kraft recipes and uses instant tapioca. The second recipe uses tapioca that needs to be soaked overnight. I think the flavor is much better, but really for me, it's all about the chocolate.

1. Easy Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding 

Ingredients
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp MINUTE Tapioca
3-1/2 cups whole milk
3 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Beat egg lightly in medium saucepan with wire whisk.
Add sugar and tapioca; mix well.
Gradually add milk, beating well after each addition.
Let stand 5 minutes. Add chocolate.
Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until chocolate is completely melted, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Stir in vanilla.
Cool 20 minutes; stir. (Pudding thickens as it cools.)
SERVE warm or chilled.

2. Longer to make but worth it -- Dark Chocolate Tapioca Pudding
adapted only slightly from JamHands (a great site)  

Ingredients
1/2 cup Tapioca Pearls
2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
Pinch of Salt
2 Eggs, Separated
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Madagascar Vanilla
4-6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Directions
Soak tapioca in 2 cups of room temperature water overnight. Drain water in morning.
Heat milk over medium low heat in top of double boiler (for just a very short time, do not boil). Add salt and tapioca. Continue to heat until small bubbles appear. Cover, turn heat to very low and cook for one hour. Make sure the milk mixture does not simmer or boil.
Separate egg whites from yolks.
Beat egg yolks and sugar together until light yellow in color. Add a little of hot milk mixture to egg yolks and blend thoroughly.
Add egg yolk mixture into hot milk mixture, stirring constantly.
Place double boiler over medium heat and cook until tapioca mixture is very thick, from 15 – 30 minutes.
Beat egg whites until stiff.
Slowly fold hot tapioca mixture into egg whites.
Stir in vanilla and chopped chocolate and combine thoroughly until smooth.
Serve warm or chilled.

HAPPY TAPIOCA DAY!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Star Spangled Cocoa Bundt Cake for Fourth of July!


I always say you should check out recipes on food product sites that you like, and for me, the Hershey's Kitchens site is a regular stop.

I grew up in Philadelphia. My Aunt lived in Harrisburg, so Hershey's, being on the way, was a frequent stop. I remember the Hershey Factory tour that took us on catwalks over rooms filled with chocolate vats--without barriers. I always thought you could fall into the vats. This was pre-Willy Wonka. I'm sure my memory is impaired, but it was a child's paradise and fantasy. I know Hershey Park had lots of amusement rides, a roller coaster, possibly a pool, but our family never availed ourselves of those 'amusements'. We always went on the educational tour. We did have chocolate, though, so I'm grateful.

Hershey, PA is a very different place now with an enormous hotel, amusement park, spa, first class restaurants, kitchens and more. Hershey's always seems so American to me! Patriotic, even. So I'm not surprised that this Hershey's Kitchens' Cocoa Bundt Cake has become one of my favorite recipes, and here it is, all dressed up for the Fourth of July. I've adapted the recipe slightly.

Star Spangled Cocoa Bundt Cake

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup DARK Cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
Powdered sugar
Fresh blueberries and strawberries
Sweetened whipped cream

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup bundt pan (with a hole in the middle)
Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy; beat in sour cream. Stir baking soda into buttermilk; set aside. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt; add alternately with buttermilk mixture to butter mixture. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.
Place cake on serving plate. Sift powdered sugar on top and sides of cake. Top with blueberries, strawberries. Serve with whipped cream.

Tip: If you don't have buttermilk, here's how to sour milk: Mix 1 Tbsp white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

Cake Photo: Hershey's Kitchens

Monday, June 26, 2017

P is for Pudding: Retro Pudding Ads & Recipes

Today is National Chocolate Pudding Day, and yes, you can make your own pudding from scratch. I usually do. But it's amazing the revolution that powdered chocolate pudding made on the American food landscape. 

According to Jell-O history, chocolate was introduced into the Jell-O family early on but discontinued in 1927. In 1936, chocolate returned to the Jell-O lineup, this time as an instant pudding made with milk. Just an FYI, today there are several Jell-o chocolate pudding flavors including Devil's Food, Double Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge and Oreo Cookies 'n Creme.

Jell-O Pudding in the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s jumped on the advertising bandwagon of this easy yet versatile dessert. I was especially taken by the Jell-O Chocolate Pudding Ad campaign in 1967-68. So for your pleasure on this yummy holiday, I give you the Jell-O "Now, pudding is..." Each advertisement includes a recipe, too. Advertisements appeared in Life Magazine.

Now, pudding is cheesecake: May 26, 1967


Now, pudding is pop: June 23, 1967


Now, pudding is napoleons: April 28, 1967
 

Now, pudding is torte: September 15, 1967


Now, pudding is eclairs: January 19, 1968


Now, pudding is fudge: March 8, 1968


Now, pudding is Boston Cream Pie: March 29, 1968


Now, pudding is brownies: October 11, 1968


Now, pudding is Bavarian: July 12, 1968


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chocolate Strawberry Parfaits: National Strawberry Parfait Day!

Today is Strawberry Parfait Day, but, of course, I plan to add a bit of chocolate. The following recipe can be made with ice cream, of course, but give it a try with some vanilla yogurt for a healthier alternative (or not!). A parfait is a dessert that alternates layers of ice cream, fruit, sometimes gelatin, and/or liqueur, and is topped with whipped cream. It is usually served in a stemmed glass. Parfait in French means "perfect," and this is certainly a perfect dessert. The following recipe has a lot of baking and making from scratch, but if you're in a hurry substitute a store-bought chocolate pound cake and some strawberry sauce.

Chocolate Strawberry Parfaits
Use clear containers. Small mason jars are 'perfect' and look so cute!

Ingredients 
Chocolate Pound Cake  *this can be made in a rectangular pan rather than in a Bundt Pan
2 cups vanilla yogurt
1 cup fresh strawberries
optional: Whipped Cream

Strawberry Sauce 
1 pint strawberries, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Strawberry Sauce 
Wash and chop strawberries. Add honey, vanilla, and 2/3 of the chopped strawberries to medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until juices are released and slightly thickened (about 15 minutes). Sauce thickens more while cooling. Stir in remaining strawberries and remove from heat. Cool completely.

To Assemble:
Layer 1/4 cup fresh strawberries in bottom of each container.
Cut Chocolate Pound Cake into cubes. Make a pound cake layer over the strawberries.
Top with 1/4 cup yogurt and 2 tablespoons strawberry sauce.
Repeat layers.
Optional: Top with whipped cream.