Over the past few weeks I have been attempting to make a soufflé. Let’s just say that each time has been miserable in its own special way.
The first recipe I used omitted the flour resulting in a rocket of egg whites, at first so promising and then so demoralizing, when it grew as tall as a chef’s hat and then proceeded to fall from that great height.
In my second attempt, the soufflé failed to rise at all. In fact, it looked like a shriveled up little toad. I must admit though, it was a delicious little toad. But that’s not the point: because it looked awful and so I cried.
Anyway, I finally plucked up the courage to try my hand again, and, as the saying goes: third time lucky.
I decided to do something a little different – to give my soufflé a twist, a Thai twist. Some of the most common ingredients found in Thai desserts include coconut milk, palm sugar and the deliciously fragrant Pandanus leaves, known in Thai as Bai Toey.
Pandanus leaves are very versatile. They are used to not only flavour desserts but savory dishes as well. They are often folded like origami to make little containers for the desserts. They are used to flavour iced water and for their natural green food coloring. And, because they smell so good, they are even used as air fresheners in taxi cabs!
The combining of coconut milk with pandanus leaves is a perfect alchemy. Their combination adds a fragrant complexity whenever they appear together.
So, there you have it: a soufflé Thai-style. It was delicate, subtle and delicious. The only thing I would change next time would be to add a little more palm sugar. I used three tablespoons, next time I will use four. I also think this recipe would be even better with duck eggs but I can't seem to find them in Vancouver. Duck eggs, which also feature largely in Thai custard desserts, are much richer than chicken eggs.
I was lucky enough to buy a whole bunch of the fresh pandanus leaves from the South China Seas Trading Co however they always carry frozen packets as well.
Now that I know I have an endless supply of the leaves, I have been giddy with all the coconut-pandanus possibilities. Coconut-pandanus pie, coconut-pandanus crème brulee, coconut-pandanus cheese cake, coconut-pandanus gelato – it’s endless. If any of these should emerge from my kitchen, I shall be sure to let you know.
I am submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted this week by Ulrike from the blog Küchenlatein.
Coconut Pandanus Soufflé Recipe
200 ml of coconut cream
4.5 tbs of castor sugar
1/8 tsp of salt
3 pandan leaves, washed
4 tbs of all-purpose flour, sifted
3 large eggs, separated
a pinch of sugar for coating ramekins
a pinch of butter for coating ramekins
Special equipment: 4 ramekins & cheesecloth
- Set the oven to 200C.
- In a small saucepan heat the coconut milk and castor sugar over a medium heat. Add the pandan leaves and cover. Bring to the boil gently. After about 5 minutes, keep the saucepan covered but remove it from the heat. Allow it to sit and cool for about 10 minutes.
- With your fingers, squeeze the liquid from the leaves into the coconut milk.
- Using scissors, cut the leaves into small pieces. Pound using a mortar and pestle until bruised and torn -- about 5 minutes. Place leaves in cheesecloth and then squeeze green liquid into coconut milk. Add salt and stir well. Discard the leaves.
- Now whisk the sifted flour into the coconut milk. Place the saucepan back on the stove and boil the mixture for 2 minutes, whisking the whole time until it thickens.
- Remove saucepan from the heat and let the milk mixture cool a little then whisk in only two egg yolks. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a clean metal bowl, whisk the three egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
- Gently fold the coconut mixture into the egg whites.
- Coat the ramekins with a little butter and sugar and then gently spoon the soufflé mixture into them. Level the tops and then place in the oven and bake for about 17 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
- Serve immediately.