Lemon Tapioca Pudding Parfait

You know how sometimes when it’s really cold outside and you think it’s not that bad so you don’t wear gloves and then your fingers start burning and turning red and hurt like the dickens and you wished you weren’t such an idiot?  Lemon Tapioca Parfait isn’t like that.  Lemon Tapioca Parfait is like when you’re really really tired and you fall into a fluffy feather bed with three pillows and a silky down comforter pulled up to your chin and you sink into warm, cozy contentment.  That’s what lemon tapioca parfait is like.

Creamy, dreamy tapioca.  I know we are just coming off the holidays and all, and it might be unseemly to be talking about dessert, but I mean, who doesn’t love tapioca?  OK, there may be a few of you out there, but I grew up on the stuff and absolutely love the vanilla-scented loveliness of it.  And then I decided that it might just be very good friends with lemon and was I ever right!  Turns out, they’re actually best buddies.

And this couldn’t be simpler to put together...make up some tapioca pudding and some lemon curd, then layer them in a parfait glass, top with a little crème fraiche and lemon zest, and you will be richly rewarded for this little effort.  Oh my.  Soooooo very tasty.

I've included a recipe for my favorite lemon curd (one of Martha Stewart's), but you can use store-bought if you have a favorite.

Depending on your love of lemon curd (mine is a very big love), you can choose how much to add between your layers of tapioca.  In the past I have mixed the lemon curd with some crème fraiche for an even creamier parfait.  Very nice.

So into 2010 we go with lemon tapioca parfait, spoon in hand, smile on face.

Lemon Tapioca Parfait

Printable Recipe

For the Tapioca:

1/3 cup sugar

3 Tbsp minute tapioca

1 3/4 cup whole milk

1 egg, well beaten

2 tsp vanilla

Mix the sugar, tapioca, milk and egg in a medium saucepan; let stand 5 minutes.  Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a full boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred).  The pudding will thicken as it cools.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Let cool slightly.

For the Lemon Curd:

YIELD 1 1/2 cups

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice (I sometimes add another ¼ cup for extra lemony-ness)

1⁄2 cup unsalted butter 

1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated 


In a heavy, medium saucepan whisk the eggs and egg yolks until well blended and then add the sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine.  Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is fairly thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. 

Remove from heat and immediately pour through a sieve or strainer to catch any egg bits.  This also creates a smooth, curd texture. 

Stir in the cold butter pieces and once the butter has melted, add the grated zest and stir to combine.  

Transfer to a tightly covered storage container.  At this point you can refrigerate the curd (it will last for 2-3 weeks) or you can freeze it for much longer. 

For the Parfait:

Place some of the tapioca pudding in the bottom of a parfait glass.  Top with just a little of the lemon curd, smoothing to cover the top of the pudding.  Top with more of the tapioca and then another layer of the curd.

To serve, top with a dollop of creme fraiche and a dusting of lemon zest.