The Progression of a Baked Alaska (and a recipe of sorts)

I spent this past weekend in Maryland, visiting my cousin, Katie, and her fiance, Chase, and we spent much of our time eating, roaming around town, and gaming (as in countless hours of video games). I only just got back this afternoon, and though I did make dinner (seared tuna and udon noodles), the thought of making a “Technique Tuesday” while doing so never crossed my mind, so you’ll just have to tune in for a new one next Tuesday.

What I want to share in this post is far more entertaining and fun than any techniques or tips I could share with you. In this post, I share the most epic dessert adventure ever partaken by myself or my cousin: the creation of a Baked Alaska, done in what I’ll call, for lack of a better name, the Katie-and-Sarah Style (which essentially means we made a nontraditional Baked Alaska that involved no baking, a  crème brûlée  torch, and an insane amount of sugar).

The Baked Alaska we know and love today traditionally features a layer of sponge cake topped with ice cream, which is then covered in meringue and baked briefly in the oven to firm up the meringue. “Baked ice cream?” you say?—Yes. The meringue essentially acts as insulation, keeping the ice cream cold even though it’s being baked in a hot oven. In a popular version of the dessert, often called a Flaming Baked Alaska, the dessert is splashed with a shot of alcohol, then lit on fire, for a bright, fiery presentation. It’s a very fun dessert that can easily be changed to suit everyone’s taste. In our case, we chose to create a homemade brownie base, topped with Ben&Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream, and a traditional meringue. The result: a fantastically fattening, super sweet, absolutely delicious dessert that was as much fun to make as it was to eat.

Recipe (or something like it)
This is a great sharing dessert, but it can easily be made into single serving portions (for example, one cookie with a scoop of ice cream on top, covered in meringue) and it’s so easy to personalize (the baked good can be a cookie, brownie, or cake, and ice cream flavors are endless)—you can make the base of it just the way you want it with whatever flavors you like. The basic instructions for the creation of the base is simply to put the ice cream on top of the baked good—it’s that simple. Now, for the meringue—the thing that makes it more than just a really good sundae: you need egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar (it acts as a stabilizer—you can find it in your grocery store’s baking and spices/herbs aisle). For every egg white you use, you need 2 tbsp. sugar and 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar. For our dish, which could have served 4-6 people, we used 3 egg whites, 6 tbsp. sugar, and a little less than 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar and it made plenty of meringue to cover the dessert, with some leftover (about 1/2 to 1 cup). You combine all three ingredients for the meringue in a mixing bowl (I highly recommend you use an electric mixer, otherwise you’ll be whisking the ingredients forever), and beat at medium low-to-medium speed until the mixture combines, thickens, and forms stiff peaks (meaning, when you pull the whisk out, the mixture it pulls with it stands on end, in peaks). Cover a baking sheet with foil, place the base on the foil, completely coat the base (the ice cream and baked good) with the meringue, then bake it in the oven for 5-10 minutes at about 400*F (be sure to check it frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn). We used my crème brûlée torch to make our dessert (and spritzed it with vodka to try to make it flare up), but no matter how you do it, be sure that it cooks thoroughly, because there is raw egg in the meringue, which has the potential to make you ill. Serve the dessert immediately after you remove it from the oven.

So, with that, I’ll leave you with a photo journey of the making of our Baked Alaska:

Cutting the ice cream out of the container

Cutting out a brownie in the shape of the ice cream

My attempt at making the meringue pretty

After the first few bites

We kind of devoured it…

All we left were these lonely pieces of brownie and a chunk of cookie dough

One thought on “The Progression of a Baked Alaska (and a recipe of sorts)

  1. Technically, we used 3 and 1/4 egg white, what with the 'almost used a yolk' accident I had at the start, haha. But oh my goodness, if I have a party I totally want to make this again.Also, did I mention yet that I love the photo with our collection of when-guests-visit booze? Because I love (slash kind of am embarrassed by) that photo. Haha.

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