Sagu: traditional Brazilian wine pudding

Yesterday all the snow melted. Today it’s back with a vengeance. Just looking outside makes me shiver, so as a little pick-me-up, sagu pudding seemed like just the thing. If you like wine gums, this recipe is meant for you.

Sagu pudding originated in southern Brazil’s wine country. It’s meant to be a bridge between Brazilian and Portuguese fare: the wine pudding on the bottom is Brazilian while the crème Anglaise drizzled on top is from Portuguese cuisine. Peter, the chef and owner of Pousada do Capao, posted the recipe along with scintillating photos here:

As much as the sweet crème Anglaise enticed, yours truly was more interested in just the Brazilian wine pudding. Uncle Guillaume would be proud.

To begin, combine the following three ingredients in a saucepan:

  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 4 cups water
  • 2/3 cup tapioca pearls

These three things have to sit for at least an hour on the counter getting to know one another…..if the tapioca doesn’t soak, it’s game over.

When the hour is up, stir in:

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 long cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 anise seeds




NOTE: Count the spices you put in. You’re going to be taking them out later, so it will help to know how much of what is in the pan.

Stir well and put the saucepan on the stove on medium-low heat so that the mixture comes to a simmer. Grab a spoon – this is a needy pudding – you must stay with it throughout the entire affair, stirring every other minute, or you end up with a really difficult pot to wash and no pudding. For the next 55 minutes, stirring is your chosen vocation. The spices mull the wine and slowly but surely, the tapioca starts to become translucent.

See? Partway there. Kind of looks like a galaxy in a saucepan. :)

See? Partway there. Kind of looks like a galaxy in a saucepan. 🙂

At the end of the cooking time, it’s time to work quickly as tapioca waits for no man and thickens like there is no tomorrow! Take out the cinnamon stick, star anise and cloves.

spent spices

These spices are a delicious by-product. I happily chewed on them while waiting for the pudding to set.

Spoon the pudding into dessert cups, let it cool, cover the dishes and transfer them to the refrigerator. Let the pudding set for at least an hour. Enjoy!


I’m so glad it made a lot because this pudding is addictive!

4 thoughts on “Sagu: traditional Brazilian wine pudding

  1. Intriguing. I’d like to mix up the sop ices, toss n some orange peel etc. I have to confess though I need something where it’s okay if I don’t get things back out because I swear they play hide-n-seek and I never win!


  2. If i thought Sweet Baboo wouldn’t notice, I would have used one cup of homemade orange marmalade instead of the sugar. You could probably put in ground cloves, cinnamon and aniseseed. When I make this again, I’m going to put even more star anise in – it was such a great complement to the wine. Let me know how yours turns out! I’ve had two of them so far and they always taste like more (as in, “more please!”).


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