Hawaiian Vanilla Tapioca Pudding with Crème Anglaise

George Mavrothalassitis

Chef MavroHonolulu - HI

Mavrothalassitis, who was raised in France, combines elements from several cultures in this dessert. Tapioca pudding is, of course, an old-fashioned American dessert, while coconut tapioca pudding is common in Hawaii, and the tapioca pearls themselves originated in Latin America. Mavro’s technique of baking the pudding in a bain marie and serving it with crème anglaise is classically French. But then there’s the maple syrup. In any case, be careful not to use instant tapioca, which is pulverized and used to thicken fruit pies, but not what you want here.


  • Tapioca Pudding:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup pearl tapioca, small size
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Crème Anglaise:

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Maple syrup for drizzling


Brush ramekins with melted butter. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape the seeds into the milk and throw pods into milk as well. In a saucepan, bring to a boil the milk mixture plus 4 tablespoons of the butter. Mix in the tapioca. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring constantly, until the consistency is soft. Remove the mixture from the stove. Incorporate the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Temper the egg yolks by adding a bit of the hot mixture to them, then stir warmed yolk mixture into the tapioca. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and hold at room temperature.

After the tapioca has cooled down, whip the egg whites until frothy. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until the egg whites are stiff. Remove bean pods from tapioca mixture, then gently fold in the egg whites. Divide among buttered ramekins. Make a bain marie by placing ramekins in a casserole in oven, and pouring hot water into the casserole, up to two-thirds the height of the ramekins. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, pull the ramekins out of the water, let cool, and chill.

To make the crème Anglaise, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape the seeds, then add both seeds and pods to the half and half. Bring the mixture to a boil. Whisk the sugar and yolks together until they are pale yellow and form a ribbon when they fall off the whisk. Temper by adding a bit of the hot mixture into the yolks. Gradually incorporate the warmed yolk mixture into the half and half, stirring constantly. Do not let the mixture boil or the eggs will curdle. Cook on low for about 15 minutes, until thickened and smooth. through a fine sieve. Cool.

To serve, unmold ramekin onto a pool of crème Anglaise. Drizzle with maple syrup.


6 servings