Having come back to Australia, I got some time to play around and experiment baking my own version of this sensational dessert. Instead of putting lotus paste, I prepared some red beans that were cooked with a little piece of rock sugar. While baking the dessert, my husband proclaimed that he had had enough in Hong Kong and didn’t want to eat any more. What happened then? He finished a big bowl when the custard turned onto our dinner table. Surprise.
- 45 gm small tapioca pearls
- 250 ml milk, divided
- 2 Tbsp custard powder
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 50 ml evaporated milk
- 45 gm sugar
- 20 gm unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Soak tapioca pearls in water at least 20 minutes. Drain well. Cook in plenty of boiling water on medium heat for 10 minutes, uncovered. To avoid scorching, stir constantly while cooking. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and let them stay inside the saucepan until translucent. Drain tapioca pearls and rinse under cold water. Drain well.
- Add custard powder in 100 ml milk, stir in the beaten egg. Set aside.
- Use a small saucepan, pour in evaporated milk and the remaining milk, together with sugar and butter. Heat the ingredients until butter dissolved and combined well. Stir in the egg mixture (3) and continue to cook. Stir constantly while cooking until thickens. Lastly, add cooked tapioca pearls.
- Fill custard mixture in ramekins half full. Put any fillings you like, lotus paste, red bean paste or chocolate. (The fillings I used this time were some red beans in whole shape. They were just cooked with a bit of rock sugar until barely softened.)
- Place ramekins in a tray half filled with water to keep custard moist while baking. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly brown. Serve hot.
- It is important to soak tapioca pearls before cooking. They will swell up and become entirely translucent in shorter cooking time.
- Don’t let tapioca pearls be unattended while cooking. Remember to stir occasionally.
- The baking time will vary depending on different powers of different ovens.