Black Pepper Espresso Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca pudding for grown-ups!

I've always loved black pepper in sweets. It's spicy and smoky and the flavor is almost stronger when paired with the sweetness than it is in savory recipes.

I had tapioca pudding on my mind after the Pinterest event I attended the other night. They revealed tapioca as one of their top 10 trending flavors/ingredients, and I suddenly realized that it's been forever since I've made a batch of pudding.

Though I've long been a fan of the classic cafeteria-style creamy tapioca pudding, I was in the mood for something a little bit more sophisticated.

Hence, this sexy and spicy Black Pepper Espresso Tapioca Pudding!

This recipe comes together just as quickly as the classic (I use quick-cooking tapioca for it, so the whole thing is done in about 15 minutes).

Pop it in the fridge to chill and you'll have a lovely and totally elegant dessert that's perfect for dinner parties or Fall entertaining.
 

Black Pepper Espresso Tapioca Pudding
Serves 4

Ingredients
1/3 cup quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons instant espresso
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Freshly whipped cream, grated chocolate or cocoa nibs, for serving (optional)

Directions

Combine tapioca, sugar, milk, cream, instant espresso, and salt in a small saucepan and let sit for five minutes (with the stove off). Turn on the heat to medium and bring to a boil, whisking consistently until the pudding thickens and the tapioca becomes somewhat translucent (about 7-10 minutes).  Note that the pudding will continue to thicken as it cools.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour into individual cups or molds, and let chill at least 2 hours before serving with whipped cream on top.

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