Strawberry tapioca pudding is a sweet, creamy dessert that is perfect for almost every occasion. It is also very easy to make. All you need is tapioca pearls, strawberries, and a few other readily available ingredients. I guarantee you that this dessert will satisfy your cravings and have your guests asking for more.
Strawberry tapioca pudding goes by several names including strawberry tapioca salad, fluffy strawberry jello salad, and strawberry tapioca fluff. It is one of the most requested dessert salads in the United States.
In this article, I will share with you my favorite fluff salad recipe, but before we get to it, it is important we understand what tapioca is.
What is tapioca?
The term tapioca refers to the starch usually extracted from the roots of cassava plants. Usually, the starch of the cassava plant is made into different forms including tapioca pearls, tapioca starch, and minute tapioca.
It is a popular belief that tapioca pearls are grown, like rice. However, this is not the case. Tapioca pearls are basically balls of cassava starch whose shape is similar to that of pearls.
Manufacturers extract the starch from cassava plant roots, mix the starch with boiling water to form a paste, then cut the paste into different shapes and sizes. This is how tapioca pearls are made, and they come in various sizes ranging from small to large. The larger versions are commonly known as boba.
The finer grind of tapioca pearls is called minute tapioca. Its consistency is very similar to that of coarse salt. Most people prefer using minute tapioca in pie fillings, however, I also like using it to make pudding.
Tapioca starch is commonly used in gluten-free baking. In fact, it is an integral component of gluten-free flour mixes. It is also used to thicken pie fillings. Tapioca’s strong gelling power and neutral flavor make it a preferred thickening agent in both sweet and savory dishes.
Why this recipe works
This strawberry tapioca pudding recipe works because;
- You won’t need any expensive equipment. As long as you have bowls, a saucepan, food processor/ blender and dessert bowls or glasses, you are good to go. There is no need to buy new products for this recipe.
- The high-quality fresh ingredients guarantee the best results.
- You won’t stay in the kitchen for a long time. This recipe takes a relatively short time to make, which makes people prefer it to the original recipe.
- Clean up is easy. After making this recipe, you won’t have a pile of dishes in your sink waiting to be cleaned.
You will need the following equipment to make your strawberry tapioca pudding;
- Bowl- you will need a round mixing bowl to easily mix your ingredients.
- Saucepan- I recommend using a heavy-based pan. This way, your ingredients will cook evenly and won’t burn.
- Food processor/ blender- your strawberries need to be blended in a food processor or blender to achieve a smooth consistency.
- Sharp knife- this will come in handy in slicing your strawberries.
- Parfait glasses/ dessert bowls- you will need these to serve your strawberry tapioca pudding.
To substitute tapioca pearls, use sago pearls. Sago pearls are made from the inner pith of the sago palm tree and have similar characteristics to tapioca pearls in terns of flavor and texture. They are generally more expensive than tapioca pearls but the pudding will taste great
You can substitute whole milk with just about any kind of milk variety. My personal favorite is coconut milk because, unlike dairy milk, it gives the pudding a very rich flavor. You can also use soy milk, almond milk, and cashew milk. Cashew milk is my second favorite because its nutty flavor and creamy texture complement the flavor of tapioca pudding.
There are several substitutes you can use in place of granulated sugar. They include; honey, maple syrup, stevia, and agave nectar. I like using honey because it is a natural sweetener, and it is most definitely healthier than granulated sugar. Maple syrup is also a good option because it has a creamy texture and caramel-like flavor.
Can you freeze?
Yes, you can freeze strawberry tapioca pudding. Freezing will extend its shelf-life for up to 2 months or more. However, you should note that its consistency may change and be similar to that of ice cream.
To freeze strawberry tapioca pudding, transfer the pudding into a freezer-safe container, add some milk to it, I usually add one to two cups depending on the amount of pudding I want to freeze then place it in the freezer.
How to store
You should store this pudding in an airtight container inside your refrigerator. Stored properly, it can last for a couple of days, mostly up to 5 days.
Yes, tapioca pudding is a healthy dessert. It does not contain gluten, making it the perfect dessert for a gluten-free diet, and it is naturally low in sodium. Another advantage I that tapioca is rich in iron, which consequently increases your energy levels, prevents dizziness, and prevents headaches.
I would describe the taste of tapioca pudding as mildly sweet with a chewy texture.
If you want to enhance the flavor of your tapioca pudding, you can add coconut milk, fruit, almond extract, or vanilla extract depending on your preferences.
There are several differences between rice pudding and tapioca pudding. While tapioca pudding is made using tapioca pearls, sugar, and milk among other ingredients, rice pudding is made with rice, sugar, milk, and spices.
Another difference is that tapioca pudding is served cold while rice pudding is served warm.
Additionally, tapioca pudding is gelatinous while rice pudding is creamy.
- Make the pudding one day before you need to serve it. Most people find that it tastes better when you have chilled it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Only garnish with strawberries when you are ready to serve. If you garnish the pudding beforehand, the strawberries may interfere with its texture.
- Use high-quality fresh strawberries as opposed to frozen strawberries. Fresh fruit always gives the best outcome.
- If you need to chill the pudding quickly, place the saucepan in a bowl of ice water. This will quickly bring it to room temperature, and you can place it in the refrigerator for an hour or so before serving.
- There are several other fluff salad recipes you can try including, coconut tapioca pudding and vanilla pudding. Don’t limit yourself to strawberry tapioca pudding.
I love this strawberry tapioca pudding recipe because it is a delightful dessert option that is easy to make and requires a few simple ingredients.
It is also versatile and can be served on its own or as a side dish. Whichever way you choose to have it, your taste buds are in for a treat.
Amish Strawberry tapioca pudding
- Food processor
- Sharp knife
- Parfait glasses
- ⅓ cup Medium to large tapioca pearls
- 4 cups Whole milk
- ⅓ cup Granulated sugar
- 4 pods Cardamom
- 1 or 2 Egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice (optional)
- 1 cup Fresh strawberries
- Pour the whole milk into a small saucepan, add ¼ cup sugar ⅓ cup tapioca, and cardamom pods.
- Simmer the mixture on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the tapioca granules turn transparent. Be sure to stir it frequently as it simmers.
- Wash the strawberries and place them in a food processor or blende then blend until they form a smooth fruit puree.
- In a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar and egg yolks then pour in 1 cup of the hot mixture above to temper it. Once it does, pour the egg mixture back into the (still) simmering mixture in the saucepan, add the strawberry puree, and vanilla extract or vanilla bean and let the mixture cook while you gently stir it every few minutes, until its texture becomes thick. You can add lemon juice at this point. The tapioca mixture should thicken approximately 5 minutes
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and spoon it into parfait glasses or dessert bowls.
- If you plan to eat the pudding right away, garnish with sliced strawberries and whipped cream. If you made the pudding for later, refrigerate until needed and only garnish when you are ready to serve.