Tapioca Pudding with Caramelized Banana and Roasted Peanuts

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Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

This tapioca pudding recipe is inspired by Chè Chuối, a popular Vietnamese dessert. A dessert that marries the creamy texture of tapioca pearls with the sweet richness of caramelized bananas. The addition of salty roasted peanuts adds a crunchy texture and a savory counterbalance to the sweetness, creating a complex flavor profile. This pudding is a perfect harmony of creamy, sweet, salty, and crunchy, appealing to a wide range of tastes.

Ingredients for Creamy Tapioca Pudding

1/3 cup small pearl tapioca (not instant)

2 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cinnamon stick

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Caramelized bananas (see below)

Ingredients for Caramelized Bananas

3 ripe but firm bananas

2 tablespoons unsalted butt

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Pinch of salt

Ingredients for Roasted Peanuts

1 cup raw peanuts

1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste


01In a large bowl, soak the tapioca pearls in 1 cup of room temperature water for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, depending on the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
02In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, heavy cream, cinnamon stick, sugar, and salt. Slowly heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it's hot but not boiling.
03Add the soaked and drained tapioca pearls to the milk mixture. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the tapioca pearls are fully translucent and the mixture has thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes. While the pudding cooks, prepare the caramelized bananas and toast the peanuts.
04In a small bowl, whisk the beaten eggs. Take a cup of the hot tapioca mixture and slowly whisk it into the eggs to warm them up softly. Then, slowly whisk the warm egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the tapioca. Remove the cinnamon stick.
05Increase the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pudding thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and the sesame oil.
06Place the peanuts on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and toss to coat. Cook the peanuts in a 350 F oven until golden and fragrant, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once toasted, immediately sprinkle with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt, or to taste, and stir to coat evenly. Let cool and then chop, either using a food processor or a knife.
07Peel the bananas and slice them into 1-inch slices. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook for a minute until the mixture becomes bubbly. Place the bananas in the skillet. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden and caramelized.
08Set aside some of the caramelized bananas to use as a topping. Stir the rest of the bananas into the warm pudding. Scoop about a cup of pudding into a bowl and top with caramelized banana slices and sprinkle generously with the salty roasted peanuts.

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Heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Wait until the pan is hot and the butter has fully melted.