Recipes // Desserts // Tapioca Pudding with Coconut Caramel Sauce

Tapioca Pudding with Coconut Caramel Sauce


By Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz

This dessert came to Rio from the kitchens of Rodrigo Oliveira, an extremely talented chef based in São Paulo. Like many other desserts, it didn’t take too long to spread across Rio. I got inspired to try it when visiting Feira São Cristovão, a flea market in Centro specializing in foods from the northeast region of Brazil. As a carioca, I love all kinds of pudding, and I especially love the humble tapioca, which offers an irresistibly fluffy and chewy consistency. Rodrigo serves this dessert with a coconut caramel sauce and toasted coconut. These are great complements to the pudding, but even served plain it still tastes amazing.

Makes: 8 servings


  • 1/2 cup granulated tapioca (or small pearl tapioca)
  • 11/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coconut Caramel Sauce
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1⁄3 cup water
  • 4 ounces unsweetened grated coconut

Special Equipment:

One 8-cup tube mold


  1. Place the tapioca in a medium bowl and pour the heavy cream and coconut milk over it. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a clean heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over high heat without stirring until it turns into an ambercolored caramel, about 5 minutes. Pour the caramel into the tube mold, making sure it coats the whole bottom of the pan evenly.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Strain through a sieve into the tapioca and mix gently with a rubber spatula. Carefully pour into the prepared caramel pan.

  5. Transfer to a large roasting pan and fill the pan with hot tap water to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Transfer the roasting pan to the center of the oven and bake until the pudding is thick but still wobbles in the center, 45 to 55 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, make the coconut caramel sauce: Place the sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns amber in color. Add the coconut milk and water and cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes.

  7. Spread the grated coconut onto a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, turning constantly, about 4 minutes.

  8. Transfer the custard mold to a wire rack and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. It’s

  9. important to invert the pudding only after it is chilled completely, otherwise it might break.

  10. When ready to serve, run a smooth knife around the inside of the tube pan. Place a large rimmed serving platter on top of the pan, and holding it together with both hands, quickly invert the pudding onto the platter. Allow the caramel to run down before lifting up the tube mold.

  11. Drizzle some of the coconut caramel sauce around it and garnish with the toasted coconut.

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