Add milk, cream, sugar and salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then stir in tapioca and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until mixture has slightly thickened, and the tapioca pearls have plumped and softened, about 45 minutes.
Add the eggs to a bowl and whisk to combine.
Add a spoonful of hot tapioca mixture to the beaten eggs, stirring well as you pour it in. Repeat with another few spoonfuls of hot tapioca, stirring after each. (This helps temper the eggs and bring them to a warm temperature without "scrambling" them.)
Add tempered egg mixture to the saucepan with tapioca and stir well to combine. Cook for 2-5 more minutes, just until thickened (keep in mind it will continue to thicken as it cools). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Transfer to a serving bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding (to keep it from forming a rubbery skin on the surface). Allow it to cool before serving. Serve either warm or chilled.
To Make Ahead: This tapioca recipe is a great dessert to make ahead of time! Just store in the refrigerator with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface for 2-3 days.To Freeze: Homemade tapioca pudding freezes well as long as you allow it to cool completely. Store in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Freeze for up to two months. Thaw completely before serving.Tapioca Pearls: If you only have instant or minute tapioca, use this recipe:
Add the milk and egg to a medium saucepan and whisk well to combine. Stir in sugar and tapioca and let sit for 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium and bring mixture to a bubbling, full boil (stirring constantly, being careful not to let it burn!). Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and cool for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or cold.Chocolate Tapioca Pudding: Add 1/2 cup of chopped semi-sweet chocolate after adding the eggs. Cook for 2-5 more minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.Coconut Tapioca Pudding: Swap out the milk for coconut milk.Vegan Tapioca Pudding: Substitute the milk for coconut, almond milk, or your favorite