40 minutes plus chilling time
This recipe works beautifully with Satsumas.
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons instant tapioca
2 3/4 cups whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean
1 cup sliced almonds
1 pound seedless mandarins (about 6)
2 tablespoons minced candied ginger (about 1 ounce)
1. Whisk together the sugar, tapioca, milk, egg and salt in a saucepan and set aside for 5 minutes.
2. Heat the tapioca mixture to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the mixture.
3. Remove the tapioca from the heat and pour it into a bowl to chill (the mixture will be somewhat liquid; it will thicken as it cools). Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.
4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds on an ungreased jelly roll pan and, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent scorching, bake until they begin to become fragrant and turn golden, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and immediately transfer them to a bowl to stop the cooking. Set them aside.
5. Peel the mandarins and carefully remove as much of the white pith and strings from the fruit as you can. Break the mandarins into 2-segment sections and cut each section in half crosswise. Collect the half-sections in a bowl and set aside.
6. Sprinkle the minced ginger over the chilled tapioca and stir roughly to mix it in thoroughly. After mixing, the tapioca should be somewhat creamy in texture, rather than set firm.
7. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of tapioca into a small glass (a martini glass is perfect; a wineglass or flat Champagne coupe will work well too). Spoon 3 (2-segment) half-sections of mandarins on top, then scatter a tablespoon of sliced almonds over that. Repeat twice more so you have 3 succeeding layers of tapioca, mandarins and almonds, ending with almonds. Chill for up to an hour before serving.