Saturday, November 7, 2015

Alien Fish Eggs With Spittlebug Froth Recipe

If you want to make a recipe for effect this is a good one.  If you enjoy having guests somewhat fearfully ask, "What's in this?" out of the side of their mouths because they haven't fully committed to swallowing yet, then this is definitely the recipe for you.

I happen to like the odd texture of pearl tapioca and the flavor of instant pistachio pudding, with it's unearthly green hue, that tastes nothing like pistachios. I also happen to know that quite a lot of people don't care for one, the other or both.  So I think it's genius to combine the two for optimal taste bud disturbtion. 

I've been eating tapioca since I was kid and I've never questioned what the hell it is.  Turns out it comes from the highly toxic cassava plant. Here's an interesting article aptly named Tapioca and Cyanide. Not to worry tapioca pearls aren't toxic, but you don't have to tell your guests that. 

About the name, my children don't like it, they thought it should be Ogre Snot.  I don't think its very snot like, but it is very terrestrial caviar like.  I know this because I've seen both terrestrials and caviar in the movies. I am open to suggestions for a better name, but I believe fish eggs, which sounds better than caviar by the way, does a good job preparing the palate for the tapioca.  Alien explains the green and spittlebug froth explains the whip cream texture.

I tried finding a better name, but that led me down a dark path.  Which brings us to the subject of ovipositor sex toys. That's a thing. I didn't know that, maybe you didn't either, but now you do.  Now neither of us can ever un-know that. Kitten Boheme has a very thorough, well written review if you still want to know more. 

There's a nice label at if you are camp Ogre Snot. Otherwise if you are camp Alien Fish Eggs with Spittlebug Froth (doesn't that just roll off the tongue), here's my label. Fonts are Chiller (MS Office) and Billy Argel Font by Billy Argel

Most of the recipe is straight off a package of Reese Large Pearl Tapioca and Jell-O Instant Pudding and Pie Filling. I used gelatin to stabilize the whipped cream because I made this a couple days in advance, you could skip this and just whip the cream with vanilla and sugar.  What else can you do with tapioca pearls besides eating it? Left dry it makes good looking spider eggs or added to water it makes icky looking potions, you can spot a few from our latest craft party

Alien Fish Eggs with Spittlebug Froth
(Pistachio Tapioca Pudding with Whipped Cream)

1/4 cup large pearl tapioca
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 - 3.4 oz. pkg pistachio instant pudding

1/2 teaspoon gelatin 
1 tablespoon cold water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons fine sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
gel food coloring (it's hard to see in the picture but I used teal.  I liked the blueish green with the pale green of the pudding, although I think orange would have made a nice contrast.) 

Chill glass bowl and whisk beater in freezer for whipping cream.

In another bowl, soak tapioca in 1 cup of room temperature water overnight and then drain. (I cheated and only soaked it for 4 hours and it cooked up fine, but I'm not legally responsible for what happens with your tapioca.)

In a double boiler*, heat 1 cup milk just until no longer cold.  Add tapioca.  Continue heating until small bubbles appear at sides of pan.  Cover, turn heat to very low and cook for one hour. Make sure that milk mixture does not simmer or boil. Remove from heat and let cool.

Beat pudding mix into 1 cup cold milk in bowl with wire whisk for 2 minutes. Stir in tapioca mixture.

For stabilized whipped cream, bloom gelatin in water, then microwave for a few seconds until melted. Beat cream in the chilled glass bowl until it thickens. Gradually add sugar and then vanilla and one or two drops of coloring gel. Add the melted gelatin and beat to stiff peaks.

Lightly fold whipped cream into pudding mixture, you want them to remain relatively separate.

Because this was such a weird recipe, I kept the servings small to encourage people to try it.  I used clear 1oz glasses, with mini plastic spoons. Some people get really excited about mini spoons. Just saying...

*I don't have a double boiler.  I keep saying I don't need one, limited kitchen storage, and then I keep doing these recipes that call for one.  So here's my two part double boiler tapioca hack: 

Even though I don't have a double boiler, I do have a small crock pot. Maybe I should get rid of the crock pot I don't use and get a double boiler, but that would make too much sense. It's so small it doesn't even have an on/off temperature control knob, it just plugs in.  The reason I used a crock pot is because the large tapioca needs to cook at a low temp for an hour and I felt I would be less likely to screw things up this way. So the crock pot is great for keeping things at a nice low temp, but first everything needs to be properly heated up. 

Actually first I needed to figure out how much water I needed in the crock pot.  I started with a cup, set my glass bowl on top and then I wiped up the overflow. I really didn't think a cup would be too much, glad I thought to test this first and not when I was working with hot water.  I dumped out a little more so the water wouldn't be touching the bowl and transferred the water to a microwave safe cup.

To heat the ingredients, I started out with a pan of water on the stove, using the same glass bowl over it, which is Pyrex by the way. Once the small bubbles started to appear, I microwaved the crock pot water to boiling. 

I poured the boiling water into the crock pot, set the glass bowl of tapioca on top and covered it.  The crock pot lid fit the bowl also, but any heat safe lid would do.  I stirred a couple of times, otherwise I left it alone for an hour and it was perfect. 

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