This is one of those classic recipes. It's called a salad but it's more of a pudding. The traditional recipe calls for canned fruit, whipped topping, and a tiny pasta called acini de pepe. There are lots of recipes out there for it. It's been a staple potluck dish since the 1960s or 1970s. I like it for dessert. It's sweet, but not too much. Plus it's fun to serve frog eyes.
My daughter, the one with food allergies, adores tapioca pudding for some reason. I couldn't stand the stuff when I was her age. So I had an epiphany today. I could combine the tapioca pudding with the frog eye salad and make something she could enjoy along with the rest of us.
This recipe is similar but uses just fruit juice.
Frog Eye Salad, DF GF version
1/3 c. pearl tapioca (tiny little white balls, look for it in the baking section of the grocery store)
1/3 c. sugar
3 c. almond or coconut milk (the drinking kind in a carton)
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt
1 18-oz can pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice
1 16-oz can fruit cocktail in water or juice
1 8-oz can mandarin oranges
whipped topping (optional)
Mix tapioca, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Let sit for 30 minutes. This helps plump up the tapioca so it cooks more evenly and has a smoother texture.
Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture thickens and boils. Remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally. (You just made tapioca pudding if you want to stop here and refrigerate it.)
Open the cans of fruit. Drain. (Save the juice and use it instead of milk in the tapioca pudding half of this recipe. It makes a nice fruity pudding.)
Stir the fruit into the tapioca pudding. Stir in whipped topping if you want a lighter texture, but it's totally optional. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve later.
Makes about 6-8 servings.