Old-fashioned Peach Tapioca Dessert “Without Cream”

I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe for the perfect peach dessert – Peach Tapioca Without Cream.  The name is a bit misleading. This luscious, refreshing dessert is topped with almond-flavored whipped cream.

The peaches are embedded in a delightful, thick, sweet, tapioca sauce made with water, sugar, and lemon. The use of water rather than the usual milk or cream creates a lovely new dimension that’s unlike any tapioca I’ve ever eaten.

This recipe was published in Good Housekeeping in 1917.  At the time, food prices were rapidly rising due to food shortages cause by World War I. Cream was expensive – so the recipe called for making the tapioca with water instead of cream. But apparently the recipe author couldn’t bring herself to totally eliminate the cream and decided that people could afford to use a little cream that could be whipped into a delightful topping.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (October, 1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern readers:

Peach Tapioca without Cream

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Time: 40 minutes active prep time
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Peach Tapioca

1/2 cup granulated tapioca (Minute tapioca)

3 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

juice and grated rind of  1/2 lemon

3/4 cup sugar

6 large peaches, pared and thinly sliced

Combine the tapioca, water, and salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer gently while continuing to stir; cook until the mixture is clear and thick (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in the lemon juice, grated lemon rind, and sugar. Added the sliced peaches and gently stir to combine. Put into a bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Serve with Almond-Flavored Whipped Cream.

Almond-Flavored Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 tablespoons confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Put cream in a bowl; beat until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners sugar and almond extract; beat until combined.

25 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Peach Tapioca Dessert “Without Cream”

  1. This really is interesting. I wonder if fruit juice could be substituted for water? It would open up even more possibilities, like apples and raisins with an apple juice/tapioca sauce. Put some cream and chopped nuts on top of that, and you’d have a nice dessert for the fall.

    1. You should give it a second chance. How could anyone like a food with the nickname of ‘frogspawn’? Thanks for sharing the link. I enjoyed reading about the most hated school foods. I was surprised to see blancmange on the list. Recipes for it are in hundred-year-old cookbooks, and I once made a recipe for Chocolate Blancmange; but it’s not a food that I ever hear of today in the U.S.

    1. You should try tapioca. It’s an ingredient that isn’t used much today, which I think is a shame. It can be used to create some interesting and tasty desserts.

  2. I have not been experimenting a lot with tapioca but back in my childhood, my grandmother used to do it in her lovely soups. It was always fun eating them! So, I know that I will be enjoying this lovely inviting dessert! 🙂 It looks quite fabulous even! 🙂

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