Tapioca Pudding

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1 C blanched almonds
1/2 C tapioca
1 T vanilla
2 Tablespoons Coconut milk
t salt
1/3 C maple syrup
4 C hot water

Blend almonds and 1 C water till smooth.  Add remaining HOT water and continue blending a little longer.  Stain mixture in several layers of cheese cloth and pour into a sauce pan. (This makes things smooth and creamy) Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat some and stir with a wire whip until tapioca is clear. Expect to be stirring this up to 30 minutes on low to avoid scorching.

To blanch almonds, boil in water for 2 minutes or micro for 3 minutes, cool and pinch off skins.

(I like to use the pearl tapioca but it takes longer to cook than the Minute Tapioca.) One cook book recommends that the pearl tapioca sit in water over night to speed up that process.

What is Tapioca?

 It is made from roots from the cassava, or yucca plant. It's often used to thicken soups and sweeten the flavor of baked goods, and it makes this.

The cassava plant is native to South America and the West Indies, where its thick, fibrous roots are used in a variety of forms: bread flour, laundry starch, an alcoholic brew, and of course, tapioca pudding. The encyclopedia tells us, it was probably first harvested by the Mayans.

 Tapioca starch producers in Indonesia, uses processed cassava roots to make raw materials for crackers, toothpaste, paper, and textiles. Processing involves lots of heat and water.

We suggest you don't try making your own at home. Cassava roots have traces of cyanide in them! The ever-resourceful Mayans figured out how to extract this poison for their blow darts, leaving the uncontaminated roots free for eating.