Nicole Krasinski didn't grow up in a particularly dessert-heavy household, but tapioca pudding, one of the few desserts she remembers eating regularly, was a post-dinner constant. When she opened State Bird Provisions in San Francisco with her husband, Stuart Brioza, pastry chef and co-owner Krasinski turned to the tender pearls of her youth. In this iteration, she stirs dulce de leche into tapioca-studded pudding and tops it with more dulce de leche and fresh strawberries. It’s a dessert that’s both simple to make and impossible to stop eating. Pearls of wisdom indeed.
Dulce de Leche Tapioca with Strawberries
Recipe adapted from Nicole Krasinski, State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Yield: Serves 4
Cook Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (unopened)
Pinch kosher salt
3 cups whole milk, divided
¾ cup small pearl tapioca
1 pint (2 cups) strawberries, hulled and quartered
1. In a large pot, add the sealed can of condensed milk and place it on its side. Add enough water to the pan to cover the can by 1 inch and place over medium-high heat. Bring the water to a rolling boil and boil for 3 hours, adding more water as needed to make sure the can is covered the entire time. Using tongs, carefully remove the can from the water and set aside for 1 hour. Use a can opener to carefully remove the lid and pour the caramelized condensed milk (dulce de leche) into a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth and stir in the salt.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together ¾ cup of the dulce de leche with ¾ cup of the milk. (Reserve the remaining dulce de leche.)
3. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the remaining 2¼ cups of milk. Bring to a simmer, then whisk in the tapioca. Simmer, stirring often, until the tapioca is almost completely translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the dulce de leche-milk mixture and pour into a large bowl. Place the bowl into the ice bath and chill, stirring occasionally, until completely cool.
4. To serve, spoon the prepared tapioca into bowls, top with strawberries and drizzle with the reserved dulce de leche. The tapioca will keep, refrigerated, for two days; the dulce de leche can be refrigerated in an airtight container for two to three weeks.