This recipe was passed on to me by Mrs. Marjorie Diamond, one of those stalwart church ladies who could usually be found in the kitchen directing any church dinner or after-party refreshments that might be on the go. I was never allowed to help in the kitchen in those days. The younger women were expected to know their place in the pecking order and were relegated to the cleaning up and dish washing that followed these occasions.
A few days before one of those particular social functions Mrs. Diamond and I were chatting about the food that would be served and she told me about Pineapple Pudding and how good it was. I had never heard of it so she gladly shared the recipe. I was a bit skeptical when I read the recipe but when I made it I loved it. I brought a big bowl of it to the church social and the bowl was scraped clean.
This is the night I almost killed Mrs. Diamond. We were playing some silly party game where everyone had a list of things to find around the room and building. I don't remember what the name of the game was but I do know I was fiercely competitive and was trying my best to find everything on my list. As it happened, Mrs. Diamond and I both spied the same item at the same time. It was something like a safety pin or paper clip and we both made a mad dash to retrieve it. I was in the bloom of youth, hale and hearty, in my 20s and Mrs. Diamond was not. She was about 70 and suffered from arthritis in her knees. We both grabbed at the same time and were both struggling to get it from the other when we collided and down she went, flat on her back. I was aghast at what I had done (we had actually done it together but I was younger and stronger). For sure I knew she had broken a hip or leg or cracked her head. She lay there winded, with everyone around her, and then managed to laugh and say she was all right. Many hands helped and Mrs. Diamond was soon back in her chair. I gave her the offending item. She was gracious and never mentioned the incident again but I'll venture to guess she was awfully sore the next day.
I think I was psychologically scarred that day and the making of this pudding and writing about the experience has been a healing and cathartic experience.
Pineapple Tapioca Pudding
1½ cups pineapple juice (saved from the drained pineapple)
3-4 tablespoons minute tapioca (use 3 tablespoons for a softer pudding)
½ cup sugar, or to taste
½ cup shredded coconut
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
Pinch of salt
2 cups whipped cream or whipped topping
Additional whipped cream for garnish, optional
Maraschino cherries for garnish, optional
Before starting the pudding drain a 19 oz/540 ml can of crushed pineapple. You don't have to squeeze the pineapple dry but press the pineapple against the stainer to extract most of the juice. Save the juice for the liquid in the recipe. Add water to make up the 1½ cups of juice.
In a medium saucepan soak tapioca in pineapple juice for 5 minutes. Place saucepan over medium heat. While stirring, boil pineapple juice and tapioca until clear. Stir in sugar, coconut, crushed pineapple and salt. (You may wish to use less sugar because pineapple is quite sweet as it is and remember whipped topping is also sweet. I used a little more than ¼ cup of sugar.)
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. When cool fold in whipped cream/topping. Pour into a pretty serving dish or into individual dishes and refrigerated until ready to eat. Top with additional whipped cream and a cherry if desired.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Orange Pineapple Pudding: To the above recipe add 1 very well drained can of Mandarin Oranges.
When you drain the pineapple, save the juice. If you don't have enough, add enough water to make up the 1½ cups of juice.
Add the tapioca to the pineapple juice. Soak for 5 minutes then boil until thick and clear. Add the sugar, coconut and crushed pineapple.
Take the hot pineapple off the heat and let cool to room temperature. Fold in 2 cups whipped cream/topping. Pour into a serving dish or into individual dishes and refrigerate until ready to use.
Find a pretty bowl for serving the pudding.
The original Pineapple Tapioca Pudding.
The Orange Pineapple version is just as tasty.
Creamy Pineapple Tapioca Pudding