Plum tapioca with apricot-stone baked apricots

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Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey


By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

In this book you’ll realise that I really do like tapioca - from the glistening soy pearls in my salmon sashimi tapa, through to my coconut tapioca. I first conceived of actually using apricot kernels for their flavour when I discovered that the famous Italian liqueur and biscuits, from the town of Saronno, are both flavoured from the kernels. Prior to this I’d always thrown the kernels away, thinking them useless. In Turkey, I’ve also eaten roasted apricot kernels and they’re so delicious it’s hard to put them down, a combination of bitterness and sweetness - which is always a good thing. I also tried switching the fruit around in this dish, flavouring the tapioca with stewed apricots and the chopped kernels, and serving it with roast plums, but I decided that although it was pretty good, this was a better taste and a far prettier photo.


  • 4 plums, halved and their stones removed
  • ¼ vanilla bean, split open
  • 80 g white sugar
  • 50 g (4 Tbsp) tapioca
  • 4 large apricots (or 8 smaller ones)


Cut the plums into chunks and place in a pan with the vanilla, 60 g of the sugar and 250 ml water. Bring to the boil, then turn to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Mash them, or purée with a stick blender.

While the plums are cooking you’ll need to cook the tapioca. Bring a litre of water to the boil and add the tapioca, stirring it to keep it separated. Boil for 10 minutes, then add a cup of cold water and bring back to the boil. Turn the heat to a gentle boil and cook for another 5 minutes, before adding another cup of cold water. Keep it boiling until most of the tapioca pearls have become translucent - although some will remain white in the centre. Drain into a fine sieve (they’re quite small when first cooked so don’t use a colander!) and refresh under gently running cold water for 20 seconds. Drain them again and mix into the puréed plum compote. Leave to cool then place covered in the fridge and leave for at least 6 hours, stirring occasionally. The tapioca will absorb the plum compote liquid and swell up into beautiful balls just like in the photo.

Turn the oven to 180°C. Cut the apricots in half lengthways and lay them cut-side facing up on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Remove the stones and wrap half of them in a tea towel or kitchen cloth. Using either a hammer or a pestle, gently but firmly hit them to crack them open. Remove the white inner kernel from the shell, then chop it roughly and mix with the remaining 20 g of sugar and sprinkle it over the apricots. Bake for 12-20 minutes, depending on the size and ripeness of the fruit. They’re cooked when they’re a little soft when squeezed.

To Serve

Simply spoon some of the plum tapioca into a bowl and sit one or two apricot halves on top.