Category Archives: pudding

Easy 4-Ingredient Lime Cracker Pie

Sometimes a recipe is just so simple that you have to try it. This 4-ingredient lime cracker pie, which requires no baking and takes all of 10 minutes to put together, is definitely one of those recipes. In fact, you won’t believe how good it tastes until you finally get to take it out of the fridge and try it yourself. This recipe is a fantastic shortcut to key lime pie, with a similar taste and none of the work. All you’ll need is limes, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and some Ritz crackers (or the like). The amount might not seem like much, but a little goes a long ways with this dessert because the flavors are intense! And when you bring it to a potluck, you’d better be prepared to answer all the questions when people start gawking at you for finding such a neat dessert idea that is so easy to execute.

4-Ingredient Lime Cracker Pie

You would think that so many Ritz crackers in the pie would come out funny and taste nothing like a dessert. But this pie uses the same technique that icebox cakes use: by layering crackers with a cream, custard, or pudding and letting it chill in the “icebox”, the crackers absorb the moisture and become soft and cake-like in texture. The saltiness of the crackers also balance the sweet and sour of the lime custard perfectly. The lime zest gives it a slight bite as well. The end result really ends up tasting like a key lime cake. Try it and I bet you’ll love it! So are you ready??

4-Ingredient Lime Cracker Pie



4-Ingredient Lime Cracker Pie (makes 6-8 servings)

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

Ingredients:

  • 2 limes, juiced and zested (1/4 cup lime juice and 1/2 tbsp zest)
  • 1 can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk – I used fat free
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 sleeves of Ritz crackers (6 oz)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the heavy cream, mix well.

Wonderful sweetened condensed milk

2. Add lime juice and stir for about 2 minutes – the mixture should magically thicken to a custard consistency. Stir in half of the lime zest, and reserve the rest for garnish.

lime custard finished

3. To assemble the pie, you may choose to do so in a casserole dish, trifle bowl, or small cups and ramekins. Layer the bottom of the container with crackers, breaking them as needed to fill in gaps. Top with 1/3 of the lime custard mixture. Repeat with layers of crackers and custard, ending with the custard on top to cover the crackers. You should have 3 layers of crackers, but you can do 4 layers if you prefer. Garnish top with remaining lime zest.

Cracker layer

Lime cracker pie in tea cups

4. Chill lime cracker pie in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably 6 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.

Lime Cracker Pie in Parfait Cups

4-Ingredient Lime Cracker Pie


Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Mango and Toasted Coconut

Yesterday, my friend who lives down the hall from me came and knocked on my door. She was holding a can of unsweetened coconut milk that she purchased on a whim because she thought it might be interesting to drink. Heh… after the first few sips I think she realized that this stuff isn’t for drinking :P She asked me if I knew of anything I could make with coconut milk so that it wouldn’t go to waste, so I went about looking for dessert ideas that would not require me going out to shop for ingredients. I wanted the coconut milk to be the star of the show, since I had a whole can to use up, which made an Asian dessert the most likely candidate. I did not have any frozen taro on hand to make the taro sago dessert I have made before, but I did have some mini tapioca balls left over from the last time I made taro sago. A quick search for Thai desserts using coconut milk yielded several recipes for a thick and creamy coconut tapioca pudding with either bananas or mangoes, which sounded divine to me. (The other option was coconut dulce de leche, which also sounds amazing and I bookmarked it for another time, yum.)

Coconut tapioca pudding with mango and toasted coconut

I have never made tapioca pudding on my own before, but there’s always a first time for everything! This recipe is super simple and makes for a surprisingly rich and velvety pudding that leads with its coconut flavor in every spoonful. If you are a coconut lover, I promise you will go nuts for this pudding. I combined ideas from several different recipes I saw online, adapting the pudding itself while adding mango chunks and toasted shredded coconut for a more sophisticated, Thai-inspired flavor. This coconut tapioca pudding is so easy to put together and yet has several components that come together for an elegant and tropical presentation, I’m sure you will impress your guests when you serve it as a finale to your Asian-themed dinner. For bonus style points, I also highly suggest serving it in classy martini glasses!

Coconut tapioca pudding with mango and toasted coconut



Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Mango and Toasted Coconut (serves 4)

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes and About.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup dry mini tapioca
  • 1 can (14 oz.) of unsweetened coconut milk (not coconut cream or cream of coconut)
  • 1/2 cup milk (adjust amount as needed)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed light brown sugar (I would use even less next time)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cubed mango chunks
  • Sweetened shredded coconut for garnish

Directions:

1. Soak mini tapioca in lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Strain excess water and place tapioca in a medium saucepot.

2. Reserve 2-3 tbsp of coconut milk and set aside. Pour remaining coconut milk into the pot with the tapioca. Add salt, and gently stir contents while bringing them to a boil on high heat.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until tapioca are completely translucent in the center and the pudding has thickened up, stirring occasionally. You may add the milk in small amounts until you reach a pudding consistency that you like. Halfway through the simmering process, stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Note: you may use granulated sugar if you would like your coconut tapioca pudding to be a whiter color, otherwise the brown sugar will make the pudding a light caramel shade.

cooking the pudding

4. Meanwhile, cover a baking sheet with foil and spread a thin layer of sweetened shredded coconut on top. Toast in a 350 degree oven on the lower rack just until most of the coconut starts to turn a light brown (it took about 6 minutes for me). Toss briefly and then remove from oven to cool. Keep an eye on that coconut because it will burn fast if you don’t pay attention! (Also, I never knew that toasted sweetened shredded coconut could taste so good, it’s kind of like crack! Me and my friend who was helping me could not stop munching on it!)

toasted sweetened shredded coconut

4. Once your pudding is done cooking after you have adjusted for taste and consistency with the milk, remove pudding from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

5. Assemble your pudding when you are ready to serve it (it was delicious warm but you may also consider chilling it first also). Spoon the pudding into your bowl, top with toasted shredded coconut and chopped mango pieces. Finally, drizzle on your reserved coconut milk to finish it all off, and serve immediately. Enjoy!!

coconut tapioca pudding with mango and toasted coconut


Taro & Tapioca (Sago) in Coconut Milk

Chinese restaurants don’t really do dessert as we know it in Western culture. There’s almost never a “dessert menu”, and it’s not a course that you would save room for either. In fact, dessert is commonly a surprise – your waiter might bring out a dish of fresh fruit, a platter of round yellow almond cookies, a handful of fortune cookies (though these are never seen in China), or if you’re really lucky, a dessert soup like red bean soup or taro sago in coconut milk. The taro sago is my all-time favorite Chinese restaurant dessert! I always get really excited when I am at a decently authentic Chinese place, because the odds of them serving this dessert is pretty good.

If you’ve never heard of taro sago, it is a creamy, refreshing soup-like pudding that has soft chunks of taro and clear little tapioca balls (also called sago) in a background of aromatic coconut milk. Taro lends its naturally mild, creamy flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture to the slippery, slightly chewy give of tapioca in this luscious dessert. The coconut milk is sweetened with rock sugar (a staple of Chinese cooking) and ties everything together with its delicate lightness. When served chilled, taro sago is the perfect way to end a big dinner, without being achingly sweet and rich like many Western desserts.

Well, lucky for all of us, it turns out that taro sago is actually really simple to make. It only requires 4 ingredients, and it’s easy to make a big batch for a crowd (or just to have a lot to enjoy – I love having this stuff for breakfast!) I adapted a recipe that I found on Recipezaar, by changing the ratios of the components to achieve a more soupy taro sago, and it tasted just like the kind in the restaurants, mmm. Enjoy!

Taro with tapioca (sago) in coconut milk



Taro & Tapioca (Sago) in Coconut Milk (serves 8-12)

Recipe adapted from Recipezaar

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen peeled taro chunks, or 1 lb. fresh taro (find at Asian markets)
  • 3/4 cup dry mini tapioca
  • 2 cans (14 oz. each) of unsweetened coconut milk (not coconut cream or cream of coconut)
  • 1/2 cup rock sugar or granulated sugar
  • Optional: chopped up fresh or canned fruit

Directions:

1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, and add the frozen taro to boil for 5-7 minutes, until tender (20 minutes if using fresh taro). Drain and mash slightly, leaving many bite-sized chunks as desired.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring water to a boil and add tapioca and boil for 5-6 minutes, then turn off heat and cover pot, allowing it to sit for another 10-15 minutes. The tapioca is ready when it is completely translucent. Strain off excess water and rinse under cold water briefly. Be sure to use a large enough pot, as the tapioca will expand quite a bit after boiling.

3. Over medium to medium-low heat, warm coconut milk with rock sugar, stirring frequently to help dissolve the sugar. Do not let coconut milk come to a boil. When the sugar has completely dissolved, taste the coconut milk for sweetness, and adjust if needed. It should be sweeter than your desired final result.

4. Add the taro and tapioca into the coconut milk and stir well to blend together. Add extra milk/coconut milk and adjust sweetness further if needed to achieve desired consistency and flavor.

5. Chill taro sago in fridge before serving, and optionally add in chopped fruit (such as jackfruit, lychees, kumquats, or mango).

Taro with tapioca (sago) in coconut milk


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