This sweet Stone Fruit Salad served with tapioca pearls and a drizzle of homemade orange syrup is such a fun way to end an evening of entertaining. Let your guests help themselves as they build their own little bowl of perfection.
Why I Love Stone Fruit Salad with Tapioca Pearls
I absolutely love stone fruits, especially Queen Garnet plums. They are perhaps my favourite amongst the whole lot. Queen Garnet plums are neither too big or small so they make for a perfect snack, are so plump and juicy and ever so sweet.
So obviously I couldn’t resist adding them into this stone fruit salad.
I have also always wanted to make recipes with orange blossom water. I love the sweet and floral notes and a small dash of orange water gives the dessert a little something special.
Between the natural sweetness of the many varieties of stone fruit to the sticky sweetness of the homemade orange syrup, this dessert fruit salad is a great little finish to your dinner party.
What Are Tapioca Pearls?
Tapioca is the starchy liquid that’s extracted from ground cassava root. It is often mistaken for cassava flour, which is actually ground cassava root. Two very different things.
The starchy liquid is left to dry out and once all the water has evaporated, you are left with a fine powder. This is then processed and you can find them either as flakes, white flour or pearls of varying sizes. For this recipe, I have chosen to use the pearl form.
As the tapioca pearls are a dried product, they have to be boiled or soaked to be eaten. They are most popular in Asian desserts, puddings and of course most widely consumed in the phenomenon that continues to sweep the world, bubble tea!
Tapioca pearls are naturally gluten free and are therefore a really popular substitute for wheat products.
However, because it is pretty much just pure starch, it has very little nutritional value and therefore should be consumed only in moderation. So yeah….stop drinking so much bubble tea people!
How to Cook Tapioca Pearls
In its original form, tapioca pearls can come in varying sizes. They are white and opaque. For this recipe, I have chosen the really small pearls rather than the marble-sized ones.
Some recipes suggest that they are to be soaked or washed prior to cooking them. This, however, removes the starch from the pearls and it will start to lose its shape. It is best to just pour the pearls straight into boiling water.
Please note that you should only be putting the uncooked pearls into the saucepan when the water is boiling. Don’t add it to the water and bring to the boil as the same issues will occur as above. It will lose its shape as the starch starts to dissolve in cold water.
For this recipe, bring 4 cups of water to the boil for ½ cup of tapioca pearls. Turn the fire down to a medium heat, stir occasionally for 20 minutes or until the pearls are completely translucent.
When that is done, turn the fire off, place the lid on the saucepan and let it sit for a further 10 minutes.
While waiting, dissolve 4 tbsp of caster sugar. Add it to a bowl with 2 cups of cold water.
Drain the tapioca pearls under cold water to wash off all the starch. Then place them in the bowl of water with the sugar and place in the fridge for 2 hours. After which you’ll find the most perfect round pearls for your dish!
What are Stone Fruits?
Stone fruits are technically called drupes. Not sure why we just don’t refer to them as drupes if that’s the case! LOL!
So, what is a drupe? It is essentially a fruit with thin skin, a good amount of flesh that is sometimes very juicy or not and of course contains a single seed that is inside a hard outer shell.
The stone (or the pit) can be what is termed as clingstone or freestone.
A clingstone is one where the flesh is stuck to the stone and it can be very hard to remove it cleanly while freestone is a stone that is not attached to the flesh. The stone itself can also be smooth or a bit fuzzy.
These fruits are abundantly available in the summer months and we’re all very familiar with the usual suspects such as apricots, plums, nectarines, peaches and cherries.
Did you know that avocados and mangos are also stone fruits? Yup! They sure are!
For a savoury salad recipe with stone fruit, we made a Cherry Tomato Salad with Peach Chutney Dressing. The spices in the peach chutney are so aromatic and yet another great summer salad to serve during a dinner party.
How to Make Stone Fruit Salad with Tapioca Pearls
How to Make Tapioca Pearls
As mentioned above, contrary to popular belief, please don’t rinse, wash or soak the pearls in cold water prior to cooking, this just dissolves the starch and the pearls will lose its shape.
Bring a medium-sized saucepan of 4 cups of water to the boil.
When it is boiling, add ½ cup of tapioca pearls and reduce the fire to medium heat. Stir occasionally and let it boil for 20 minutes or until the tapioca pearls are translucent.
When cooked, turn the stove off and place the lid on the saucepan and let it sit for a further 10 minutes.
While you’re waiting, dissolve 4 tbsp of caster sugar. In a medium bowl, add 2 cups of cold water and the dissolved caster sugar.
Drain the tapioca pearls and run under cold water to wash off all the starch. Then place in the bowl of water with dissolved caster sugar and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
How to Cut Stone Fruit
We are after thin slices of all the different varieties of stone fruit. Cut them in half, remove the pit and simply slice thinly.
How to Make Orange Syrup
For the orange syrup, you will need the zest of 1 orange and the juice of 2 oranges.
In a small saucepan, add the orange zest, orange juice and orange blossom water. As it slowly comes to a boil, slowly add the granulated sugar and stir until fully dissolved.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick you like your syrup.
Set aside to cool before serving as it will burn your mouth if you serv it straight away.
How to Assemble Stone Fruit Salad
The idea of this dessert fruit salad is a bit of a DIY or grazing plate.
Drain the tapioca pearls and divide them into 4 small bowls.
Pour the orange syrup into a small jug or bowl.
Place some mint leaves on a platter.
Place the 4 bowls of tapioca pearls and jug of orange syrup onto the platter.
Place the sliced stone fruit in a heap wherever there is space.
And ask your guests to help themselves! The idea is to place the mint leaves and stone fruit into the bowl of tapioca pearls and drizzle some orange syrup on the top.
Isn’t this just such a fun little dessert idea? We love using the natural sweetness of fruits and combining them with dessert favourites to create new and exciting concepts. It’s a great little fruit salad for everyone to enjoy!
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Stone Fruit Salad with Tapioca Pearls
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- In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to the boil. Add ½ cup of tapioca pearls and turn down to medium heat. Boil for 20 minutes or until the pearls are translucent.
- Stir occasionally.
- When cooked, turn the stove off and place the lid on the saucepan and let it sit for a further 10 minutes.
- Dissolve 4 tbsp of caster sugar. In a medium-sized bowl add 2 cups of cold water and sugar.
- Drain the tapioca pearls and run under cold water to wash off all the starch.
- Then place in the bowl of water with dissolved caster sugar and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Cut all stone fruit into half and discard the pit.
- Slice all fruit into thin slices.
- Tear some mint leaves off the stalk.
- For the orange syrup, zest 1 orange and juice 2 oranges.
- In a small saucepan, add the orange zest, orange juice and orange blossom water. As it slowly comes to a boil, slowly add the sugar and stir until fully dissolved.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick you like your syrup.
- Drain the tapioca pearls. Divide them into 4 small bowls.
- Pour the orange syrup into a small jug or bowl.
- Place some mint leaves on a platter.
- Place the 4 bowls of tapioca pearls and jug of orange syrup on the platter.
- Place the sliced stone fruit in a heap wherever there is space.
- Guests can help themselves. The idea is to place the mint leaves and stone fruit into the bowl of tapioca pearls and drizzle some orange syrup on the top.
- If the orange syrup becomes too thick as it cools down, add some boiling hot water to dilute it.
- If you can’t find orange blossom water, you can omit it altogether. It just gives the syrup some floral notes.
- You can use rosewater instead of orange blossom water if you prefer.
- Any stone fruit can be used for this recipe.
- You can choose the ripeness of the stone fruit. Can be on the crunchy side or on the softer side.
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