Tropical Tapioca

Vacationing on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is paradise to be sure. The perfect weather, beautiful scenery and sunny beaches are beyond imagination. Couple all of this with a plethora of international and local cuisine, and this food writer was in heaven for a week.

I came away from the trip with a bevy of recipes and ideas, and this recipe for Tropical Tapioca is my recreation of a dish I sampled in, of all places, a hotel fast food restaurant. The delicious combination of pearl tapioca and coconut milk surrounding sliced ripe bananas was absolutely heaven. When I came home, I discovered that it takes a trip to a specialty market to locate pearl tapioca, so I used the more readily available quick tapioca found in the pudding sections of most supermarkets.

Serving this luscious dessert in demitasse cups is a pretty presentation, and offers diners just the right amount of "sweet" after dinner. A sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon would be a nice finishing touch.

  • 3/4 cup 2 percent milk
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk*
  • 3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 ripe bananas, thinly sliced just before using
Combine milk, coconut milk, tapioca, sugar and egg in a saucepan. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes. Place saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, remove heat and set aside to cool for 20 minutes.

Layer some of the pudding in 6 demitasse or small parfait cups, then arrange some banana slices over top. Layer with remaining pudding and refrigerate, covered in plastic wrap, until ready to serve.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.