Dairy Free Tapioca with Tropical Fruit layers pearl tapioca pudding with coconut milk and toasted coconut with fresh tropical fruit, and the parfait is then topped with a luscious mascarpone cream. It may transport you to your favorite island getaway... 😀
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
So, I live in the Rio Grande Valley in WAAAAY south Texas near the Gulf of Mexico... IT'S HOT. HOT. HOT. Technically our climate is "sub-tropical." Sometimes it feels like Phoenix (just hot), and sometimes, the sweat pours, and you're safer inside. Just sayin'...
We have beautiful palm trees (swaying in the breeze), gorgeous tropical birds and flowering plants, and a plethora of amazing fish, shellfish, and produce. AND TROPICAL FRUITS.
Today, I'd like to focus on one in particular: Maracuya (aka passionfruit). I fell in love with this fruit when we moved to the RGV and started hanging out with Dr. Robert Bradley (pre-Columbian art historian and my husband's Associate Dean) and his Peruvian wife Siri. She made maracuya pie that reminds me of my late grandma's lemon meringue pie
June 2017, we headed to Peru - my husband Mark, Dr. Bradley, and 10 UTRGV Honors students. We had maracuya pisco sours! Maracuya salad dressings! More maracuya pie! Yes! It's so amazing. It inspired my Chilcano de Maracuya (A Pisco and Passionfruit Cocktail), my Passionfruit Vinaigrette with Greens & Roasted Beets, and my Passionfruit Margarita. I have a love affair with this fruit. 😆
When I went to work on this dairy free tapioca with tropical fruit recipe, I knew maracuya had to play a major role. The fruit itself is mostly water (with a ton of exotic flavor!). I wanted a layer of diced fruit, but maracuya cannot be diced. 😯 Alas, it was headed to a lovely mascarpone cream topping... Mango, guava, and kiwi with a squeeze of lime and a squirt of agave nectar make up the fruit layer...
🥭 About Maracuya (aka Passionfruit)
Since ancient times, maracuya was cultivated because it was thought to boost the immune system. It is loaded with vitamin C, carotene, and cryptoxanthin. Say what? It provides protection against illness, and it is good for you.
Its antioxidants defend against cancer, while its vitamin A contributes to healthy skin, eyes, etc. Maracuya is high in fiber which is important for digestive health. And just as importantly, it tastes amazing! Well, if you like tart, fruity, and perfume-y tasting fruits...
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- tapioca - All tapioca is not "created equal!" I grew up on "quick tapioca," and that is NOT what we're using here! I specify small pearl tapioca for a specific reason: I love its texture. Quick tapioca definitely has its place, but when making an elegant dessert like this one, go for the gold standard. It requires a little more time to cook (20 minutes as opposed to 5 minutes for quick cooking). IMHO, the quick cooking tapioca is best reserved as a thickener. So now you know... Lol.
- ginger paste - I use this ginger paste rather than minced or grated ginger.
- milk - I use non-dairy coconut or nut milk. Dairy milk is fine as well.
- coconut milk - This is the Asian-style milk from the coconut that comes in a can. Regular or lite will work.
- sea salt
- unsweetened coconut flakes - I lightly toast them!
- Tropical fruits - Kiwi, mango, guava, papaya, etc. On photo day, we used a combination of mango and kiwi.
- lime - Both juice and zest.
Tropical Mascarpone Cream
- mascarpone - I LOVE mascarpone. You can substitute cream cheese or crème fraîche.
- tropical fruit pulp - My favorite is the passionfruit pulp from Goya, but the other fruits are fine as well. You can even try a combination!
- agave nectar
- sea salt
- lime zest
- fresh herbs - Thai basil and fresh mint are both good options!
- Make the tapioca - Rinse pearl tapioca thoroughly. Combine tapioca and water in a medium saucepan, and soak 30 minutes. In a medium prep bowl, whisk together ginger, coconut or nut milk, coconut milk, salt, egg yolks, and vanilla until smooth. Add the milk and egg mixture to the tapioca, and gradually heat. Cook at a low simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened, stirring often. Add toasted coconut, and remove from heat to cool. Allow tapioca to cool to room temperature or chill.
- Prepare the fruit - While the tapioca cools, prepare the fruit. 1 to 1 ½ cups of small diced fruit (small dice) is great. Use your favorites or whatever is available. Sprinkle with the sea salt, zest, and squeeze lime juice over top. Toss to combine, and set aside.
- Make the mascarpone cream - To make mascarpone cream, add mascarpone to a small food processor. Add tropical puree(s), agave nectar, and salt. Pulse until creamy and smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to assemble.
- To Serve - Spoon a layer of tapioca into a glass dish, add a generous spoonful of tropical fruit, another spoonful of tapioca. Top with a dollop of mascarpone cream. Garnish with fresh herbs (Thai basil or mint), and some freshly grated lime zest. Enjoy!
Can I make this dessert in advance? You'll want to serve this dessert at room temperature or chilled. You can make the tapioca and mascarpone cream the day before, and dice the fruit and assemble it the day of... That makes it a perfectly elegant party dessert that can be
mostly made ahead.
An important distinction: I use both coconut (non-dairy) milk and coconut milk in a can from the coconut. You can substitute nut milk or dairy milk for the coconut non-dairy milk, but the coconut milk is an important flavor component. I typically use lite coconut milk, and have used that in calculating macros.
What kind of fruit should I use? For the fresh fruits, use 1 or a combination. I live in south Texas, and tropical fruit is plentiful, so I have choices. Mango is very widely available, as are kiwi. The guava may be more difficult to find. By all means, be flexible, and use fresh, quality fruit!
Note: I love Goya tropical fruit pulps (just fruit). I specify passionfruit, but you can change it up, and use guanabana or mango instead. I have used a combination, but I have to have the passionfruit! You need a total of 2 tablespoons. See the Goya Website for options.