Cold Cream of Tapioca and Redcurrants

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Cold Cream of Tapioca and Redcurrants
From Great British Puddings (Canada, UK), by Mary and Debbie Smith

It's difficult not to associate tapioca with awful school dinners and instantly think of frogspawn. However, this recipe adapted from The Gentle Art of Cookery by Mrs. C.F. Leyel and Miss Olga Hartley, first published in 1925, is a divine, light pudding with a superb contrast of flavours and tastes. The original recipe suggests serving the tapioca and redcurrants in separate glass dishes, but we prefer to put the fruit into 6 tall glasses, with the tapioca on top of it. According to Mrs. Beeton, tapioca is the "produce of the pith of the cassava-tree, made in the East Indies and Brazil" and is highly nutritious.

If finding redcurrants poses more of a problem than the tapioca itself, substitute another favorite berry.

Ingredients:

For the tapioca:

4 cups/1.2 litres/2 pints cold milk
Vanilla pod
1/2 cup/50 g/2 oz tapioca
1/3 cup/50 g/2 oz caster sugar
Ground cinnamon for dusting

For the fruit:

1 cup/350 g/12 oz redcurrants, stripped from the stalk
1-1/2 cups/175 g/6 oz caster sugar

Instructions:

Put the milk, vanilla pod, tapioca and sugar into a saucepan, bring slowly to the boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring fairly frequently, until the tapioca has swollen and become completely transparent. Leave the tapioca to cool completely.

Meanwhile, put the redcurrants with the sugar into a saucepan and bring very slowly to the boil, stirring once. Take the fruit off the heat and leave to cool. Divide the fruit between 6 glasses and spoon the tapioca on top. Chill, then dust the surface with a little ground cinnamon. Serve chilled.

Yield: Serves 6

Related Article: What is tapioca?