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Chocolate Tapioca Pudding One of the reasons comfort foods are such a big part of this book is that in times of stress, it’s natural to seek out foods that have never let you down. So it is with tapioca pudding, a staple throughout the world. The cassava root, which is made into tapioca pearls, is rich in carbohydrates and gluten free, making this dessert a good treat for people who want to maintain weight without taxing the digestive system. A little chocolate sweetens the package, making this an ideal dessert to eat by the fireplace. Be sure to use very high-quality chocolate to enhance the yum factor. You can make tapioca without presoaking, but plan on an extra 10 to 20 minutes of cooking time. SERVES 8

½ cup small pearl tapioca 2 cups water, for soaking 3 cups organic milk, almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk ⅛ teaspoon sea salt 2 organic eggs ⅓ cup maple syrup ⅓ cup finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Soak the tapioca in the water overnight. Drain the tapioca and discard the liquid. Combine the milk and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring almost to a simmer; tiny bubbles will form around the edges of the pan. Stir in the tapioca and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then turn down the heat as low as possible and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, until tapioca pearls have swollen and are translucent and tender. (If the tapioca is not presoaked, the extra cooking time will come in here.) Whisk the eggs and maple syrup together in small bowl, then gradually add 1 cup of the tapioca mixture to the eggs while whisking constantly. Whisk the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the tapioca and continue to cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the pudding is bubbling gently. Cook for about 5 minutes, until somewhat thickened. The pudding will do most of its thickening while it cools, so don’t overcook it at this point or the texture will be rubbery texture. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until the chocolate has melted and is thoroughly mixed into the pudding. Stir in the

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