I know my mom is going to say "Ah! Finalement" (Ah! Finally) when she reads this post. You see it is not uncommon during our phone conversations for me to say "Oh, by the way, I saw this really cool ingredient, gadget, linen, etc…on a French site and I am having it come to your house so you can bring it next time you come visit or pop it in the mail with the next care package. Hope it’s not too much trouble!" There is usually a pause, sometimes a sigh, followed by "where the heck did you find this? What don’t you sleep at night for a change?"
The explanation is easy: B’s muscles unwind when he falls asleep by severely twitching which provokes him to jerks and send his knee(s) in my ribs or his arm across my face. One black eye and a many bruises later we both agreed that it was safer for me if I let him fall asleep first and then sneak in the bed half an hour later. Most of the time, I turn the computer on and start browsing….and find things I "need" for baking. You’ve been there, "surfing" the Internet…How long is your baking wishlist now that you’re blogging?!! That’s how I found a bunch of cool syrups one night that I "wanted" for baking. Flavors like cotton candy, pain d’epices, candy apple, lavender, and this strawberry syrup I used with the Tapioca Puddings. A few clicks and a phone call to the parents and they were on their way.
Now that Sprig is in full swing, I can’t get enough rhubarb. Every trip to the store and a couple of pounds end up in my cart, it’s like I am on auto pilot. My preferred method of cooking is to cut it large cubes and cook it down over the stove and stop the heat when I can still get some chunks. I can’t describe the feeling of biting into it when it is cooked that way. The mellow bite of flesh that gives out on your tongue, while your taste buds are tickled by the sourness of the fruit quickly followed by a hint of sugar. I like sour tastes so I have a tendency to go light on the sugar when I cook the rhubarb down. I also took opportunity of the oven being on one night I was cooking the cheesecake for the Daring Barker challenge to cut large cubes of it and roast it with a sprinkle of sugar at 325F. The end result was allright, a little bit too "stewed" down for my taste…but who cares? It’s rhubarb!!
I like rice puddings a great deal but there was this little container of small bead tapioca left to be used and in an effort to organize the pantry (and I hate to throw away) I used it instead for the puddings adding a touch of cardamom to the milk while it was cooking. Some tapioca or rice pudding recipes call for an egg custard but that always seem a little too rich for me so I skipped that one. Once cooled down, I spooned into glasses, topped it with the rhubarb and added a splash of the strawberry pie syrup my parents sent me. I understand you may not have the same syrup I sued available but you can substitute you favorite syrup with these like grenadine, reduce pomegranate juice, blueberry, etc…Seemed like the perfect pairing, strawberries and rhubarb. We’ve been feasting on these for the last couple of days feeling pretty happy and virtuous after an insane amount of cheesecake chocolate pops!!
For the puddings:
1/3 cup tapioca
2 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/4 cup sugar
6 cardamom pods, crushed with the back of a knife
1/4 cup fruit syrup
In a heavy saucepan combine the milk, and cardamom pods. Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat, let steep for 20 minutes. Strain the pods. Return the milk to the saucepan and add the tapioca, and 1/4 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens up, about 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
2 cups diced rhubarb, large chunks (1 inch)
1/2 cup sugar
Put the chunks of rhubarb in a large roasting pan and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake at 325F until the fruit barely starts to give when you press your fingers in one piece, 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Divide the pudding among 4 glasses or dishes and top with the rhubarb. Drizzle one tablespoon of syrup over each glass. Serve at room temperature.