Baked Alaska comes out of obscurity! (and the winner of Robin Asbell’s book)

Baked Alaska Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Congratulations to Susan at www.wildyeast.com, she has won a copy of Robin Asbell’s The New Whole Grain Cookbook. Thank you so much to everyone who left such incredibly kind comments about the Apple Pumpkin Cake I made from her book. I hope you will all check out Robin’s fabulous book.

Like most Americans I have been consumed by this election. Right before the VP debate some of the foodies on Twitter were discussing what they would be eating during the face off. With all the talk about our 49th state these days It dawned on me that the perfect dessert for this event would be the once loved Baked Alaska. I hadn’t made or eaten a Baked Alaska in years. When I mentioned it to my friend Jen she immediately thought of her Home Ec class, nearly 25 years ago. I am convinced this dramatic dessert will be pulled from obscurity and we will once again see it on menus everywhere. Well perhaps not, but they are incredibly fun to make and delicious. Not to mention you get to use your Blow Torch, which is one of my favorite kitchen tools.

I had a difficult time finding a current pastry book with a recipe for Baked Alaska to share with you. It is a layer of cake, or in this case a Russian Tea Cake as suggested by a Twitter friend and a Bright Red Tuile. I ended up using a recipe from Sherry Yards wonderful book The Secrets of Baking for the tea cake and a Jacques Torres recipe from Dessert Circus for the Italian Meringue.

For 12 individual Baked Alaska:

1 small sheet of your favorite cake (butter cake, chocolate cake, pound cake or any other will work nicely) there may be left overs, I used them for a trifle.

1 pint ice cream of your choosing (I used “Imagine Whirled Peace” by Ben & Jerry’s)

1 batch Italian Meringue from Dessert Circus:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

3 large egg whites

Round Cakes for Baked Alaska | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Using a 2-inch Round Cutter. cut the cake from a sheet.

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream in Baked Alaska | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Using the same 2-inch Round Cutter. press the ice cream into the mold and then slide it off. You have to work quickly and it is helpful to freeze a metal or ceramic pan to set them on so they won’t melt as you work. Once they are done keep them in the freezer until you are ready to assemble the Baked Alaska. The longer they have to set up the better.

Baked Alaska Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

I piped a ring of ganache around the cake to act as an anchor for the ice cream, but this isn’t entirely necessary.

Baked Alaska Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Set the ice cream on the cake rounds and then refreeze while you make the Italian Meringue.

Boiling Sugar and Water with Candy Thermometer | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a 1-quart heavy bottomed sauce pan fitted with a Candy Thermometer bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium high heat. When the syrup reaches 240° begin to whip the egg whites.

Mixing Homemade Syrup and Egg Whites for Meringue | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

When the syrup reaches 250° and the whites have reached soft peaks then carefully add the hot syrup to the egg whites, while the mixer is on medium speed. To prevent the syrup from hitting the whip pour the syrup along the edge of the bowl. Continue to whip the now hot egg whites until they are just warm, but not hot, about 5 minutes.

Whipped Meringue with Stiff Peak | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

They should be glossy and smooth. Prepare a Pastry Bag with either a large rose tip or a Star Tip and fill with the meringue.

Baked Alaska Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Decorate the cake and ice cream towers with the meringue. After the meringue is piped on the dessert can be refrozen until serving time.

Baked Alaska Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

When you are ready to serve remove from the freezer and using a Blow Torch toast the meringue until you have the desired color. Be sure to do this on a piece of foil or metal pan. I had a pastry assistant torch something for me at work one time and set everything up on parchment paper. As you can imagine the paper caught fire and he was uninjured but embarrassed.

Baked Alaska Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Garnish with a tuile and serve.

Baked Alaska Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Enjoy!

41 thoughts to “Baked Alaska comes out of obscurity! (and the winner of Robin Asbell’s book)”

  1. Hi Ronee,

    Really, I think everyone needs a blow torch! It is excellent for toasting meringue and making creme brulee. Not to mention how impressive it is to bring to your table of friends!

    Try it! Zoë

  2. I’m a new visitor to your blog and I am so impressed with how you’ve made Baked Alaska look easy! Thanks for the step-by-step process photos, I look forward to trying this at home sometime!

  3. Fun! These look delicious. Might have to make them for with the next debate. Always looking for a reason to use the kitchen torch, it’s so fun!

  4. Hi everyone,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful comments! It was really fun to make and I hope you will try it.

    Diana,

    The Italian meringue is glossy and wonderful. Try it and see what you think.

    Thanks, Zoë

  5. I have a big butane torch that my husband got for me at the hardware store. I just love to use it. Your little baked Alaskas look divine!

  6. Hi Eileen,

    I use a big butane torch as well. I just like the power of it. 😉 I recommended the smaller one in case people weren’t used to using a torch.

    Have fun!

    Zoë

  7. My puny kitchen torch ran out of fuel about three years ago, and I haven’t made a creme brulee since. On America’s Test Kitchen, they said the kitchen torch is for people who have apartments, and that the butane torch is for people who own houses. I have a house now, so I suppose it’s time I buy a torch like yours. Thank you Zoe!
    Beautiful Baked Alaskas! Well done, as always!

  8. When I was in Junior High I nagged my mother to make me a Baked Alaska. Yellow cake layer (box cake) giant pyrex bowl full of neapolitan ice cream, and her regular meringue. Yep, under the broiler until brown. It was beautiful, but so huge, I’m not sure where it all went. Your cute renditions are the ticket and that ganache “anchor?” Um, yes, please. 🙂

  9. Hi Kellypea,

    You are so lucky your mom made this for you! I think my mom made me jello once? She is a very talented woman but the kitchen was not her domain when I was growing up. Now she is quite the cook and perhaps she will even try her hand at a Baked Alaska?

    Thanks, Zoë

  10. Hi Jaime,

    Yes, it is time to buy the big torch! They are really fun and so impressive when you bring it out to the dinner table. 😉

    Zoë

  11. Such an elegant dessert, Zoë! The tuile is just the perfect topper. I’ve set many a bit of baking paper alight with my blowtorch before, so I know how your assistant felt! 😀

  12. These are wonderful — so elegant. And your photo is a little work of art.

    I have a running list of recipes I want to try and I just added a recipe for baked alaska. After seeing this I think I need to make it as individual servings. Thank you for the inspiration.

  13. These turned out wonderfully and with such creativity. I saw your twitter today and got a chuckle about your son wanting crepes for breakfast. Good man I say. I hope his way in the future wife can cook!

  14. Hi Robinsue,

    LOL, that is what my husband always says to my boys about their future spouces.

    So glad you made the Baked Alaska!!!

    Zoë

  15. Loved the Baked Alaska! I live in Alaska, and have a blog called Baked Alaska, and have as of yet to make it. I make homemade ice cream every week for a group I’m part of, so I guess it’s time to make it!

  16. Great looking site and breath-taking Baked Alaska. Desserts are my weak point in the kitchen but I’m sure my visits here will remedy that!

  17. I love this!!! So glad you shared this link with me on Twitter… I think we’re on to something with the Baked Alaska comeback.. I told Caron for those people who are thrilled with Sarah Palin’s defeat – we’d call it the “Whipped Palin” or “Back to Alaska!”

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