From A Sweet Quartet (Canada, UK), by Fran Gage.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the coconut milk , which isn't a dairy product at all, but the liquid from the tropical fruit. Buy it in Asian markets or in the specialty section in grocery stores.
The egg-yolk base can be made ahead, then refrigerated until needed. Gently reheat it over low heat before continuing. Thirty minutes before serving, whip the egg whites and fold them into the base. The air beaten into the egg whites gives this dessert its loft and texture. It will start to fall when it comes out of the oven, and certainly when it is being served, so take it to the table in all its glory and spoon it onto serving plates in front of your guests.
Soft butter and granulated sugar for the soufflé dish
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg white, at room temperature
3/4 cup (6 ounces) coconut milk (stir before measuring)
4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided into 2 portions
1-1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (1 ounce) flaked, sweetened coconut
1 tablespoon dark rum
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Generously butter an 8-cup soufflé dish. Dust it with granulated sugar, and discard the excess.
Separate the 3 eggs, dropping the whites into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and the yolks into a small bowl. Add the additional egg white to the others in the mixer bowl.
Whisk a little of the coconut milk with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the flour. Bring the rest of the coconut milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Whisk it into the sugar-flour paste. Return to the pan, and bring to a boil, whisking. Boil for a minute, to cook the flour. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the butter. Let it cool for a minute, then whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the coconut and rum.
Beat the whites with the whisk attachment on the mixer, starting on medium speed. When they start to froth, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until they become opaque and increase in volume. Add another tablespoon of sugar and beat until they start to become firm, then turn up the mixer speed, add the remaining tablespoon of sugar, and beat until they are stiff but still glossy. The whites will hang in soft, droopy peaks from the whisk when it is lifted from the bowl.
Fold about a fourth of the beaten whites into the egg-yolk base, then turn the base into the mixing bowl and fold in the rest of the whites by hand. It's better to leave a few clumps of white showing than to overfold.
Pour the mixture into the soufflé dish, and bake it on the middle shelf of the oven until the soufflé rises and the top browns, about 25 minutes. Serve the soufflé at once at the table.
Yield: 4 Servings