It seems I’m always thinking. Depending on the day depends on what it’s about and sometime it works, but sometimes it doesn’t. The one constant thing, however, is I am always thinking about what I can make and how I will make it. And that is exactly what happened on the day I was looking through one of my food magazines and saw a recipe for a mango and tapioca parfait. I wanted to make it.
But I didn’t have a chance to make it as soon as I had hoped to, which was perhaps, a blessing in disguise. I just couldn’t find small pearl tapioca anywhere! I honestly think it is a rare commodity in my area, but if you have as much trouble finding it as I did, check your local asian market. They will have it. During the search, however, I was looking through my friend, Patrick Evans-Hylton’s new cookbook, “Dishing up Virginia”, and came across his Ambrosia recipe. I now wanted to make that too.
Here’s where the thinking part came in. What if I combined the mango parfait with the ambrosia recipe? Now that was something worth thinking about and I have to say, this one thought was with me almost every day. How would I combine them, what would I take out and what would I keep? For days I had both recipes open on my counter, reading and re-reading. Thinking, thinking, thinking.
I may have blown a brain cell with all my thinking but I honestly believe I came up with a really great combination. I have Patrick’s Ambrosia in a whole new way. I don’t think Patrick would really mind me taking liberties with his recipe, in fact, I’m almost positive he would love the fact that I did!
So the next time you see a recipe you like (including this one), think about popping a few brain cells, taking a few liberties and see what you come up with. I think it could be something amazing!
See…..there I go again…. always thinking. However, I believe this time it worked and it was a good thing.
mango tapioca ambrosia
- 1/4 cup small pearl tapioca
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- kosher salt
- 1/2 can unsweetened coconut milk (1/2 of a 14 oz can)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup peeled and diced mango
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon finely grated lime zest
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 banana
- 3 ounces fresh or frozen coconut, toasted
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- maraschino cherries (optional)
In a large saucepan, combine the tapioca, whole milk, vanilla bean and seeds and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until tapioca is translucent and tender, about 20 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk.
In a small bowl whisk the egg yolk with the sugar. Gradually whisk in half the warm tapioca in a steady stream. Continue whisking and pour egg mixture back into the saucepan. Cook the pudding over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pudding to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Discard the vanilla bean. (i usually cover with plastic wrap directly covering the top of the pudding to avoid “skin”)
Whip the cream with an electric mixer in a medium chilled metal bowl until thick; fold in the sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a medium bowl, combine the mango, pineapple, lime zest and lime juice. Take half to a food processor and purée until smooth. Add purée to the other half of the diced mango and pineapple. Slice banana and add to the purée mixture to prevent browning.
Once tapioca has cooled enough, fold whipped cream into it.
To assemble begin with the fruit mixture, top with tapioca and whipped cream mixture, add toasted coconut, and then toasted pecans. Repeat until you have about two layers of everything. I use jelly canning jars and got six out of this recipe. Top with a maraschino cherry if desired.