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Cardamom Tapioca Pudding, Roasted Rhubarb And Strawberry Syrup

Tapioca Pudding-Copyright©Tartelette 2008 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!!

Tapioca Pudding-Copyright©Tartelette 2008
Cardamom Tapioca Puddings With Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberry Syrup:

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.

Roasted Rhubarb:

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.

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LizNoVeggieGirl April 29, 2008 um 12:43 pm

Haha!! So cute about the conversations with your mom :0)

Hooray for making this dessert, Helen!! It’s by far the most tantalizing version of tapioca pudding that I have ever heard of/seen!

MyKitchenInHalfCups April 29, 2008 um 1:52 pm

Looks Fabulous – I love tapioca, always. And I totally love the rhubarb. It always seems with a little cardamom you need lots less sugar. And yes I need a break from cheese cake.

Anonymous April 29, 2008 um 2:01 pm

Oh wow… tapioca is one of my favorites, but this recipe takes it to a whole new level! Bravo!

Cannelle Et Vanille April 29, 2008 um 3:19 pm

helen- I do think that we share the same pastry brain. You just put some of my favorite flavors and textures together in that cute little dish. Bravo!

Dana April 29, 2008 um 3:20 pm

If you can believe it, I haven’t been able to find rhubarb at any of the markets near me!! I’m so upset! I’m going to head to the farmers market tomorrow to see if I can find it there because this post is making me drool!

Pittsburgh Needs Eated April 29, 2008 um 3:29 pm

I’ve never thought of combining rhubarb and cardamom…that sounds delicious! Two of my favorite things!

How was the syrup? Sometimes I find them too sweet or weird tasting.

That Girl April 29, 2008 um 5:44 pm

Rhubarb is high on my list of foods to try.

Rachel@fairycakeheaven April 29, 2008 um 5:55 pm

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm pudding!!! DIVINE!!!

Aimée April 29, 2008 um 6:25 pm

Hooray for spring flavors! I think rhubarb and strawberry is my favorite combination and you certainly know what to do with them! Beautiful!

Brilynn April 29, 2008 um 7:20 pm

Cotton candy syrup!?!

I can’t imagine buying rhubarb at the store, as soon as it’s slightly warm outside the garden is overrun with it and it stays pretty much until it snows again.

Ben April 29, 2008 um 7:54 pm

I love the strawberry syrup. I am wondering if I can use other kinds to make this when I am done with my diet. I am getting hungry 🙁

Anonymous April 29, 2008 um 8:26 pm

This sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing, I needed a new pudding recipe.

glamah16 April 29, 2008 um 9:28 pm

Tapioca , Rhubarb, whats not to love! Comfort food for spring and summer.

LyB April 30, 2008 um 12:17 am

I love rhubarb! It always reminds me of my grandmother’s garden, which was always full of rhubarb. My dad would grab a stalk, sprinkle some sugar on it and munch away! Strawberry and rhubarb is a perfect pairing, this dessert sounds incredible.

Bron April 30, 2008 um 12:18 am

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb!
This is Spring comfort food at it’s best, I really ought to make some with the last of our rhubarb, like Brilynn says… before! it snows!

creampuff April 30, 2008 um 12:29 am


My name is Cream Puff.

And I have never had tapioca before.

Can I come to your tapioca training course?

And could I also sign up for the rhubarb-cooking class?

Anonymous April 30, 2008 um 12:52 am

A simply lovely dessert. I want to know where you are finding the rhubarb as I keep missing it in the stores? I so need something else to make as I am eating a cheesecake pop while reading this.This DB has eaten too many!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) April 30, 2008 um 12:57 am

Somehow you can take a bunch of ingredients I don’t love on their own, and turn them into something I absolutely want to eat! (Oh — I’m a late night online shopper, too…..)

Sew Succulent April 30, 2008 um 1:20 am

Your blog is sublime. Thank you for your treats for the eyes, even if I’m not up for making treats for the tongue. Heavenly. It is always a pleasure to visit Tartelette.

Ginny April 30, 2008 um 3:32 am

I do something like that to my mom all the time, except it is more like…mom, i saw these flats at target but they didn’t have my size could you stop by the one there…I love this combination, something I would not think of and looks wonderful! 🙂

Anonymous April 30, 2008 um 4:33 am

I read this while consuming a cup of coconut tapioca with fresh passion fruit and sadly my tapioca is inferior to yours. Will have to try this one out sometime!

Mama Mia April 30, 2008 um 5:43 am

mmmm that looks like such a fresh spring snack!

Carrie April 30, 2008 um 11:09 am

I hate to admit, I am with cream puff, I have never had tapioca!? I think my mom didn’t like it when I was growing up so I of course assumed….well now I will have to try.

I am SO there with you on the surfing thing. I am getting a package today from L’Epicurie of things I "needed" for baking. I am dreading my Hubby’s reaction. Good luck to me!

Beautiful dessert 🙂

Suzana April 30, 2008 um 11:22 am

I so wished I could easily find rhubarb around here! The combination sounds awesome, as usual.

Anonymous April 30, 2008 um 11:53 am

Wonderful, as usual! And rhubarb JUST hit my local markets this week, so I’m a happy girl.

Anonymous April 30, 2008 um 12:58 pm


Eileen (passions to pastry)@

Anonymous April 30, 2008 um 3:07 pm

This looks and sounds like a very delicious dessert. Nice colors!

Lael Meidal April 30, 2008 um 4:17 pm

I’m really trying to work on commenting on the blogs I visit, since I know how much I appreciate receiving comments on my own. With this post, I didn’t even hesitate to comment! I haven’t seen rhubarb in the grocery stores here yet and I’m starting to worry that we can’t get it in west texas. What’s spring without rhubarb?! If I could, I’d have my mom send me some…I often feel guilty for taking advantage of her access to finer ingredients and her willingness to put together care packages.

Cookie baker Lynn April 30, 2008 um 5:32 pm

Oh, beautiful! I’ve been longing for rhubarb. I splurged on a plant last year and in a gardening spree my husband uprooted it and threw it away, thinking it was a giant weed. Sigh.

Anonymous April 30, 2008 um 6:25 pm

Today I got 15 kg. rhubarb directly from the grower. I wash, cut and freeze it for farther use. I love rhubarb and this way I have it ready for a few months.
Tomorrow I’ll try this recipe.
This is not a coincidence.

cakewardrobe April 30, 2008 um 6:51 pm

Lovely photos! I love anything with tapioca.

Anonymous April 30, 2008 um 7:48 pm


Once again you have saved me! I bought some rhubarb meaning to make a tart and haven’t gotten around to it yet. I need to do something fast with the rhubarb and I don’t have time to make the tart right now so I’m going to roast it, freeze it and make something when I have a bit more time. Thanks as always.

Peabody April 30, 2008 um 9:13 pm

The confession heard around the world…I have never had tapioca pudding. Crazy I know but no one in my family ever made it or ate it and I have never really had it prepared for me anywhere. I need to bit the bullet and make some.

PheMom April 30, 2008 um 11:34 pm

HaHa – on the tail end of Peabody’s confession, here is mine. I’ve always been afraid of rhubarb and so I’ve never tried it. You keep posting it though so I’m convinced… now, how do I know if it looks good or not? I’ll just have to try.

Mallow May 1, 2008 um 12:48 am

Looks delicious…anything with cardamom has to be good.

Manggy May 1, 2008 um 6:51 am

Thank you for the idea!! I have a big bag of cardamom I don’t know what do with, except to make curry, hahaha!! 🙂 I didn’t know it could be paired with strawberries! I love your dessert, it’s so pretty!

aforkfulofspaghetti May 1, 2008 um 10:33 am

Fabulous. My kind of pudding. All those who say they don’t like tapioca should try this.

Mike of Mike's Table May 1, 2008 um 5:56 pm

I love the looks of this dessert. Strawberry and rhubarb are a match made in heaven and this pudding looks just delicious.

Unknown May 2, 2008 um 12:54 pm

My neighbor has tons of rhubarb he never uses, and I get sick of pie after a while. This will be a great thing to try! Thanks!

Anonymous May 6, 2008 um 3:47 am

I am in heaven! My farmers market finally had rhubarb this weekend. I’m sitting here eating the recipe minus the strawberry syrup. Yum and thank you! I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to the traditional tapioca with eggs again.

Anonymous May 8, 2008 um 8:06 pm

I find the match of the ingredients so original, expecially the use of cardamom.

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