Question: Where can I buy old-fashioned pearl tapioca--the kind that requires soaking in milk overnight and cooking in a double boiler? None of the local stores stock it.
Answer: Your best bet is to try either health food stores or Chinese markets. Mrs. Gooch's and Quinn's health food stores both tell us they carry different sizes of the product in their stores. Yee Sing Chong in Chinatown stocks both small and large varieties of pearl tapioca.
Q: For some years now I have been making fruitcakes around the holidays. Each year I think about making my own candied fruit for these recipes, but I've never been able to locate a recipe that provides the technique for making the fruit at home. While still thinking about it, I decided to write and see if you could provide a list of those fruits that may be candied and the method used.
A: "Better Than Store-Bought" (Harper & Row: 1979) by Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider Colchie contains the following recipe for candied cherries. The authors say the resulting cherries "are a natural garnet color, not the brilliant artificial cerise or crimson shade of the commercial product. They keep well--they're neither syrupy nor stick--and can be used to enliven fruited cakes or puddings." The book also contains recipes for candied pear slices, pineapple and lemon, orange or grapefruit peel.