Ready for an AIP treat that’s a cross between pumpkin pie, marshmallow fluff and sticky tapioca pudding?
It’s impressive how the extra step of baking this took it to the next level, texture-wise. It really does remind me a lot of that fluffy marshmallow cream that we used to eat by the spoonful as kids. (Usually with peanut butter on white bread…such a SAD garbage food, but, sigh…how do I miss the? Let me count the ways.)
A browned, crème-brulee type top was what I was going for with the baking step…BUT that didn’t happen. As we all know, things don’t always work out exactly as we imagine they may in our experimental kitchen adventures, especially when we are trying to re-create classic comfort foods with gluten-free substitution ingredients. The end result may not be what we imagined in our heads…but it still comes out delicious!
Sometimes you almost-accidentally make pumpkin-tapioca-sticky-fluff, and that’s pretty darn groovy, too.
Traditional tapioca pudding usually calls for the tapioca pearls to soak in cool water or milk for about half an hour to poof them up. This recipe you will forego the soaking for gently cooking them on the stove-top prior to baking. This helps to soften the tapioca, melt the maple sugar, meld the spices together and bring the coconut cream and pumpkin puree to temperature. These steps will ensure your pudding treat is a smooth consistency and bakes evenly in the oven (where the magic happens). Make sure your baking dish is about 1.5 quarts and about 4″ deep so that it doesn’t over cook. If you don;t have that deep of a baking dish, I suggest cooking it for half to 3/4 of the recommended time so it doesn’t dry out.
Check out my Homemade Tigernut Milk recipe to use in place of the coconut cream to make this coconut-free.
I’ve made tapioca pudding just on the stove-top before and I noticed it was more gloppy than the baked version. Either method is still enjoyable…and both ways are still sticky…but I do think the addition of pumpkin puree (which is a great egg substitute in baked goods, btw) helps to smooth it out a bit so it’s not so chunky. Egg-free puddings are always going to be more “gelatinous” in my opinion. But that’s OK. It’s still allergy-friendly. Still darn delicious. We just need to accept that re-make recipes are not going to be exactly the same as their inflammatory counterparts. And it’s all good.
Don’t feel like baking or stove-top cooking? My microwave-able Pumpkin Pie in a Mug is the perfect AIP dessert for one!
Baked Maple Pumpkin Tapioca Pudding - AIP, Coconut-free option
Paleo AIP tapioca pearl pudding that tastes like across between maple marshmallow fluff and spiced pumpkin pie filling. Dairy-free & gluten-free, with coconut-free option, compliant with the autoimmune protocol.
- 1 tsp refined coconut oil for coconut free sub avocado oil
- 2 cups coconut cream + 2 cups water for coconut-free sub Homemade Tigernut Milk, recipe in NOTES
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder or alcohol-free vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp mace
- 1 pinch ground clove
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon plus more for sprinkling on top
- 1/3 cup small tapioca pearls
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup maple sugar depending on how sweet you like it, plus 1 Tb for sprinkling on top
- toasted unsweetened coconut flakes optional garnish
Grease a 1.5 quart, 4" deep baking dish with coconut oil and set aside.
In a large Dutch oven, whisk together coconut cream, water salt, vanilla, mace, clove, cinnamon and tapioca pearls.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat on the stove-top, then reduce heat to medium-low.
Whisk in the pumpkin puree, then the sugar. Cook for 20 minutes, whisking every few minutes to avoid scorching / sticking on the bottom.
Preheat the oven to 300 F in the meantime.
Pour pudding base into the greased baking dish. Sprinkle the top evenly with the 1 Tb sugar and a little cinnamon.
Bake for 1 hour or until thickened and slightly browned on top.
Stir gently before serving to distribute the pearls evenly. Serve hot or warm, or chill least 4 hours for cold pudding. Top with toasted coconut flakes if desired.
If your baking dish is less than 4" deep, cook the pudding for 1/2 to 3/4 of the time to prevent over-cooking and drying out.
Coconut free sub: Homemade Tigernut Milk
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