What’s an elegant, sophisticated dessert that costs under $7? If you guessed Baked Alaska, you’d be right. Of course the photo and headline might have given it away.
This really is the queen of desserts. All the other desserts have to sit on the curb and wave as she goes by. Baked Alaska has been around for a long time, originally from the New York restaurant Delmonico’s in 1867, coinciding with the U.S. acquisition of Alaska from Russia.
As chic as its reputation may be, it can simply be store-brand ice cream and a bit of cake covered by about forty cents worth of meringue and browned. So, here’s how it’s done.
Cake – You’ll need a single layer of cake for the bottom. This can be sliced pound cake or a single layer baked from a mix, like Jiffy brand, any flavor. For this chocolate lover’s variety, I used dark chocolate brownie.
Ice cream bombe – A bombe is layered ice cream in contrasting colors in a spherical mold, like a bowl. To save money, buy cartons with more than one flavor like vanilla with orange sherbet or Neapolitan.
It’s easiest if you have nesting bowls. Spray bowls with cooking spray and line with plastic wrap. You spread the first layer on the sides of your large bowl and press a smaller bowl into the ice cream to form an even layer. Freeze until solid. Remove the inner bowl and fill the recess with remaining ice cream layers. Place your cake layer on top (which will be the bottom when unmolded) of the ice cream and press down. Wrap with plastic and freeze.
Meringue is a mixture of stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar. Italian meringue is a really stable meringue that’s similar to marshmallow.
What You’ll Need:
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup
4 large egg whites, room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
In a small sauce pan, bring sugar, water, and corn syrup to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Next, cook without stirring, until syrup registers 248° on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, whisk egg whites with a mixer on low until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt. Increase speed and whisk until soft peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes.
Reduce speed to low, and pour hot syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Increase the speed to high, and whisk about 3 minutes. Use immediately.
Assemble Baked Alaska – remove the ice cream bombe from the mold and invert onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Remove plastic wrap.
Quickly cover the ice cream completely with the meringue. Use the back of a spoon to make swirls in the meringue. If using a handheld kitchen torch: hold torch 4 to 5 inches from meringue and brown the meringue to your liking. If using your oven: preheat oven to 500°. Place the Baked Alaska in the oven until meringue is browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate or cake stand.
Serve immediately and bask in your “I’m such a Diva” glory.
Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! NEW website and blog – www.divasonadime.com