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The wild roses were in bloom last week as we visited several beaches on the coast of Washington.  I am a weird one because I love to taste things.  I have no problem pulling off a petal or two and chopping down on them.  These roses were so worth it.  The flavor was so sweet that I had to collect some.

One thing I haven’t shared is that I traveled with 2 quarts of vodka and 4 empty quart jars.  I had hoped to find cleavers but didn’t come home empty handed.  I had a quart of spruce tips in vodka and what remained of that first quart of vodka with rose petals.

Because I was on the beach, I collect as many petals as possible and dropped them in the vodka unwashed.  The proof was high enough that I felt it would kill of anything weird.

When I got home days later, I strained out the bits using a reusable coffee filter.

This left me with a light pink alcohol or extract.  It’s so good, I could drink it straight.

However, I wanted to make something with it.

This last weekend was so gloomy that I was craving chai and pudding – how about chai pudding?

I took 3 cups of milk and added my chai spices (ginger, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, star anise, peppercorns, cloves).  I tried heating it on the stove but was so distracted that it boiled over.  So I poured the milk into my 4 cup glass measuring cup (adding more milk to make up for what spilled) and heated in the microwave for a minute.  There it sat for a good portion of the day.

How long it sits will determine how flavorful your pudding is.  Mine is all flavor.  It’s almost overwhelming but then my milk sat for about 8 hours.

With that milk, I made an egg free tapioca pudding.  To start, I soaked my tapioca pearls (not minute pearls – old fashioned/regular pearls) in boiling water, adding enough water that it more than covers the tapioca. It really needs to sit until the pearls are soft, no less than 10 minutes but I think I let mine sit for about 30.  Drain off extra water.

Add tapioca to milk with 1/2 cup of sugar and a teaspoon of rose extract.  Bring to a boil and let simmer until the tapioca is quite soft.  The pudding will not be thick but it will be thickened.  Once the tapioca is soft (10 – 20 minutes), remove from heat.  Refrigerate overnight.  The end result will be a bubbly thick pudding.

I wish I had taken more pictures because it’s really tasty and a wonderful pudding.

My spice amounts are really approximate – this is about what I added but you can add more or less as you desire.

Chai Tapioca Pudding

3 cups milk
2 3-inch stick cinnamon
½ inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced or 1 teas grated ginger
6 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon seeds
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 star anise
1/2 cup tapioca pearls
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon rose extract

Heat milk in the microwave with spices.  Let sit until desired flavor.
Meanwhile, pour boiling water over tapioca pearls and let sit until the pearls have doubled in size and are slightly transparent.
Strain the milk and place in saucepan.  Pour extra water off of tapioca and add to the milk.  Add sugar and rose extract.  Bring pudding to a boil and cook until the tapioca pearls are completely transparent and soft.
Remove pudding from heat and let sit until thickened.  Enjoy!

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