The Coconut Squares Recipe is for those who loved the fun, springy texture of Jell-O as a kid but left the generic flavors behind long ago. Here the coconut milk mixture strikes just the right balance between fruit and cream. A popular treat in Asian bakeries and dim sum houses, these coconut squares are often layered with other flavors of gelatin or served with fresh fruit and sponge cake.
Makes 36 squares
1⁄4 cup (2 ounces/58 grams) evaporated milk
1⁄2 cup (43⁄8 ounces/125 grams) unsweetened coconut milk
3⁄4 cup (47⁄8 ounces/138 grams) sugar
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
2 gelatin sheets, soaked in cold water until softened and drained, or 1 1⁄3 teaspoons powdered gelatin, softened in
1 tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon coconut-flavored rum, preferably Malibu
2 large egg whites
1. Put the evaporated milk, coconut milk, 1⁄3 cup of the sugar, and the salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Boil, whisking, for 5 minutes.
2. Remove the mixture from the heat, add the softened gelatin, and stir until dissolved. Stir in the rum. Cool completely at room temperature.
3. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until frothy, then slowly add the remaining sugar with the machine running.
4. Continue whisking until medium-soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. (When you lift the whisk from the whites, a peak will form and the tip will fall back into the mixture.) Gently fold the whites into the cooled coconut mixture until fully incorporated.
5. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch square pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, about 2 hours.
6. Cut the coconut dessert into 11⁄2-inch cubes and serve chilled.