Baked Alaska

When browsing through my Baking Illustrated cookbook, I found an article and recipe for Baked Alaska.  This was brand new to me, something I had never encountered.  It sounded SO different, I just had to try it.  Baked Alaska is an interesting and impressive dessert, and fun to eat – the combination of cold ice cream and warm meringue is unique and enjoyable.

According to Wikipedia:

Baked Alaska (also known as glace au four, omelette à la norvégienne, Norwegian omelette and omelette surprise) is a dessert made of ice cream placed in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas Pudding and topped with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven for just long enough to firm the meringue.The meringue is an effective insulator, and the short cooking time prevents the heat from getting through to the ice cream.

Beautiful Baked Alaska

 

Searching the web, I found several different recipes for Baked Alaska.  Some, like the one I used, involved a génoise cake, while others were simply made from a white cake mix.  Either way, the first step involves making the cake.  Regardless of the recipe you choose, you should bake the cake in a sheet pan for easier construction.  Select a large bowl to use as a mold and line it with plastic wrap.  Once the cake is cooled, cut it into long strips (1.5-2 inches wide) and use about 3/4 of the strips to line the bowl.

Cake strips lining the bowl

If you want, you can make a soaking syrup using the liquor of your choice, water, and sugar.  I used Kahlua.  Simply brush the syrup onto the cake.  Don’t forget to brush the syrup onto the cake strips that haven’t been added  yet.

Next, grab your ice cream.  You can choose any kind you like – I went with a combination of Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Cookie Dough.  Cut the carton from the ice cream and put it in a bowl.  Use a wooden spoon to break the ice cream into smaller chunks to allow it to soften evenly.  It is important to not let the ice cream melt – just soften it – otherwise the ice cream will have ice crystals in it once it refreezes.

Softening the Ice Cream

Add the ice cream to the cake (in the bowl), and smooth it evenly.  Top with the remaining cake strips and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Freeze for at least 2 hours (or up to a week!).

Finally, make a meringue – choose a recipe that isn’t too delicate.  The cookbook recommends an Italian meringue.  Once it is prepared, take the cake out of the freezer and invert it out of the bowl onto a pie plate.  Remove all plastic wrap and apply the meringue, making sure to add several peaks to the surface.

Ready to go in the oven!

Bake in a hot oven (425ºF) for 5-8 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown.  Slice and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Look at the layers!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. This recipe is interesting! Would love to try it out. Its like a better version of pavlova

    Raymund
    http://angsarap.wordpress.com

    Reply

    • You should try it! It’s fun to make, and you can use your creativity on flavor combinations. In fact, that’s why I didn’t post the exact recipe I used – I think it could end up restricting people’s creativity. Let me know if you try it, and what you think! 🙂

      Reply

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