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Jasmine-Scented Tapioca Pudding with Kiwifruit

Jasmine tea infuses this pudding with a delicate floral aroma and light herbal nuances, while large pearl tapioca gives it a distinctive look and unique texture. Fresh kiwifruit adds vibrant color and brings a tart fruitiness that balances the richness of the pudding.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup large pearl tapioca
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2 Tbs. loose-leaf jasmine tea
  • 3 kiwifruits

Directions:

Place the tapioca in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak overnight at room temperature.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer. Drain the tapioca, add to the milk mixture and stir to blend. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, until the tapioca is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. If the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Drain the tapioca, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Let the cooking liquid cool, then refrigerate, covered, until needed.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the half-and-half to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the jasmine tea, cover and let steep for 5 minutes.

Pour the tea-infused half-and-half through a fine-mesh sieve into the drained tapioca and stir to blend; discard the tea leaves. Let the tapioca mixture cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, peel the kiwifruits, cut them lengthwise into quarters, then cut the quarters crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Thin the pudding to the desired consistency with the reserved cooking liquid. Spoon the pudding into bowls, top with the kiwifruits and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).