Tapioca pudding, without question, is as much about texture as flavor. People react strongly to it—they either love it or loathe it. Most of us in the test kitchen happen to love it.
Why This Recipe Works
For our tapioca pudding recipe, we had the best luck with the easiest method: All of the ingredients were combined in a saucepan for five minutes at room temperature (to soften the tapioca), brought slowly to a boil, and removed from the heat. Judicious in our use of raw eggs these days, we decided to cook the whole egg in the pudding and turned to whipped cream rather than whipped egg white to lighten it. We added a small amount of light brown sugar in conjunction with granulated sugar for a faint earthiness that supported the vanilla’s floral notes. We were not thrilled with vanilla extract in the pudding—the flavor tasted one dimensional and commercial—so we tried a whole vanilla bean in our tapioca pudding recipe and liked it very much.