Apple Tapioca Pudding

Image of Louisa Macculloch's cook book. The front cover is open to the handwritten index.Of all the types of desserts in Louisa Macculloch’s cookbook—charlottes, whigs, jumbles, and puddings, the pudding is probably the one we are most familiar with today. Born and raised in England, Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) brought her traditional recipes with her to Morristown, New Jersey in 1810 and these recipes were passed down through generations of her family.

We’ve heard of figgy pudding, plum pudding, and Christmas pudding but how well do we know what a pudding was compared to today? Prior to the late 1700s, an English pudding could be savory, being sausage or meat-based, or sweet. By the 1800s, even though the methods of steaming or boiling a pudding in a cloth bag remained the same, a pudding was more like a cake.

Louisa Macculloch had seventeen pudding recipes in her cookbook. These included several recipes for bread pudding, plum pudding, and lemon pudding as well as an 1849 recipe for cocoa-nut pudding. Today we are sharing one of her apple pudding recipes, which is undated, but the recipe hints at an earlier time.

Original recipe: Apple Tapioca Pudding
¾ cup pearl tapioca put to soak in one quart of water in which ¾ teaspoon of salt has been dissolved. Soak about three hours (near the fire). Peel and core four apples, cut in quarters and arrange in baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar.

Add ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter to tapioca. Stir over fire till it reaches boiling point. Pour over the apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and bake one hour. Serve hot with hard sauce or cream.

Modern conversion: Apple Tapioca Pudding
¾ cup large pearl tapioca
¾ teaspoon salt
3-4 apples
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar

Soak ¾ cup large pearl tapioca in one quart of water, with ¾ teaspoon of salt, for at least three hours. Pour off extra water and use strainer. Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Peel and core three to four apples, cut in quarters and arrange in baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar.

In a saucepan over low to medium heat melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add strained tapioca, ½ cup of sugar and stir. After it boils and thickens, pour over the apples in the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until apples are soft and pudding is bubbling. Serve hot with hard sauce or cream.


  • Tapioca was popular in 18th century England and was considered beneficial for the young and old. Today we know that tapioca is a resistant starch and functions like fiber in the digestive system. To find out more about tapioca and the Cassava root, visit

Apple Tapioca Pudding slice

Topic: Munchie Monday
Age / Level: High School, Life Long Learner

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Apple Tapioca Pudding Apple Tapioca Pudding slice Apple Tapioca Pudding cooked