American Classics: Coffee Tapioca

American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.

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Coffee Tapioca

Editor's Note: You may know Alexandra Penfold as Brownie from the popular blog Blondie and Brownie. She'll be stopping by weekly, digging up long-lost classic desserts and regional favorites.


[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

With the heat of the summer upon us, my thoughts have turned to cool desserts. Ideally cool desserts that are easy to make and won't heat up my kitchen. The other day as I was flipping through an issue of American Cookery Magazine from 1920, I happened upon a Minute Tapioca advertisement with a recipe for Coffee Tapioca which promised to be "an excellent way to use up the coffee which is left over from breakfast." I'll admit I was semi-charmed by the bold claims that Minute Tapioca "is one of the best foods for building up health and strength" and "it will never have the flat flavor of monotony". With recommendations like that, I had to give the recipe a shot.

Playing with the recipe in the advertisement and the modern instructions on the Minute Tapioca box, I was delighted to discover that this recipe was not only super easy, but also a tasty way to enjoy coffee in pudding form. With instant tapioca, this pudding thickens readily and you may be tempted to eat it straight from the pan, but have patience—it's worth waiting for it to chill completely. Top with whipped cream for a sweet ending to a hot summer night.

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