Combine 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca, 3 cups milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 1 1/2 quart pot. Cook on medium-high heat until it starts boiling. Turn heat to the lowest setting and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, while slowly adding 1/2 cup sugar.
In a separate bowl beat 2 eggs. Slowly mix in some of the tapioca mixture to bring up the temperature of the eggs to avoid curdling them. Put the egg mixture into the pot with the tapioca and milk. Slowly, while stirring constantly, bring the mixture back to a boil.
Continue to stir, reduce the heat and cook for a few more minutes until it thickens. Let it cool for 15 minutes, and stir in the vanilla.
To make a pudding that is light and fluffy separate the eggs and add the yolks and whites to the recipe at different times. Beat the egg yolks, and add them to the pot after mixing in some of the hot tapioca mixture. When the pudding is almost done beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Take the pot of pudding off the stove, and fold the egg whites slowly into the mixture.
Tapioca pudding can be served warm or chilled. Shredded coconut, nutmeg or fruit can also be added before serving.Learn more about Desserts