Did anyone guess what I was talking about when you read my title? I’m talking baked Alaska here, people, which, in case you didn’t know, is a dessert that consists of cake and ice cream which gets covered with meringue and baked in the oven.
Why did I make one on the weekend? My little cousin is graduating from grade eight (I must be getting old) and her grad party was yesterday. A few years back, she and her sister helped me make a baked Alaska at my house and were pretty impressed. So, as a graduation gift, I offered to make one for her party….although it’s not that hard to make, it does have several steps and requires lots of freezing time, so I opted to stay over the night before.
As impressive as this dessert is, I promise, it’s not that hard to make…you just need time! And another plus is that it’s totally customizable. You can see that the recipe tells you to use raspberry sorbet, and chocolate and vanilla ice creams, but the flavours are totally your call – my cousin picked chocolate, vanilla, and butterscotch ripple. You could also use frozen yogurt and a lighter cake recipe, and this would be a pretty reasonable dessert, considering that meringue is totally fat free. Try this next time you really want to impress at a summer party – you won’t regret it, I promise!
from Food Network Magazine August/September 2009
- Vegetable oil, for brushing (I used PAM)
- 1 pint raspberry, passion fruit or other sorbet, softened
- 1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
- 1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened
- 1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (about 17 crushed wafers)
- 1 loaf pound cake
For the Meringue:
- 1 cup egg whites (about 6 large), at room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 cup sugar
Make the ice cream cake: Brush a 3-quart metal bowl with vegetable oil; line with plastic wrap. Fill the bowl with scoops of the sorbet, vanilla ice cream and half of the chocolate ice cream, alternating small and large scoops to create a mosaic of colors and shapes. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the ice cream; press down to close the gaps between scoops and even out the surface. Remove the plastic wrap, sprinkle the ice cream with the wafer crumbs and re-cover with the plastic wrap, pressing gently. Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.
Remove the wrap and spread the remaining chocolate ice cream in an even layer on top of the crumbs. Cut the pound cake into 1/2-inch-thick slices; completely cover the ice cream with the slices, trimming as needed (you’ll use about two-thirds of the cake). Cover with fresh plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Make the meringue: Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar on high speed until the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks.
Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, then invert the cake onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If necessary, let the cake stand overturned until it slips out.) Remove the rest of the plastic wrap and cover the ice cream completely with the meringue, making the dome-shaped top slightly thicker than the sides. Form swirly peaks in the meringue using the back of a spoon. Freeze for at least 3 more hours.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Bake the cake until the meringue peaks are golden, about 4 minutes, or brown the meringue with a blowtorch. Let the cake soften at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Freeze any leftovers.
The softened ice cream scooped into the lined bowl, before I packed it all down.
….now add a layer of cookie crumbs and freeze.
…add another layer of ice cream, then some cake slices (I made my favourite pound cake recipe, but you could easily buy it), then freeze again.
On the left, you can see what the dessert looks like after being frozen (overnight) and unmolded. Be patient! It takes a few minutes (and a bit of assistance from a butter knife), but you will get it out. On the right, we have the meringue whipped up and ready for action.
Action shot: the cake is partially covered with meringue.
Now it’s all covered with the meringue, ready to freeze some more and then get toasted (both times I’ve made this, I’ve done the oven method, as I don’t have a blow torch – works just fine).
My Aunt also requested that I make some appetizers for the graduates to enjoy – on the menu were BLT pizza, hot broccoli and cheese dip, and taco/nacho dip…not exactly “healthy” fare, but it wasn’t my party! I have to admit, although I didn’t take huge portions of any of them, I did pick a bit too much as I cooked and as the food sat out afterward….but there were some healthier options (veggies and PC blue menu chicken skewers) so I tried to load up on those. Another side note: one benefit of having a healthy eating blog and an Aunt who reads it is that when you come to stay overnight, she announces she has lots of healthy food for you to choose from: SCORE!
I was able to come up with this breakfast (berries, yogurt, special K yogurt and berries) from her pantry/fridge….thanks for thinking of me Auntie Rue!
What are your favourite summer desserts to make (or eat)?