We’ve been making ice cream at Appel Farms for over a year now. We don’t have many flavors, but the flavors we do have are exceptionally good, if I do say so myself. Handmade ice cream doesn’t need sprinkles or a cherry on top, but I just can’t resist. So let’s have some ice cream fun by making Baked Alaska, shall we?
Baked Alaska has been around since at least the 1800’s, probably earlier but under different names. Originally, it wasn’t called Baked Alaska, it was “Norwegian Omelette”, “Omelette la Norvienne”, and Omelette Surprise.” The name “Baked Alaska” didn’t appear in print until it was published in Fanny Farmer’s cookbook in 1896. It was, and is, a popular dessert because the egg whites are a poor conductor of heat, so browning the meringue doesn’t melt the ice cream. I enjoy serving it because it looks beautiful and is easy to make a couple of days ahead and keeps in the freezer until you are ready to serve it. I noticed that if I keep it too long, it changes the consistency of the meringue so I don’t recommend making it too far ahead.
I like making individual servings so I line bowls with plastic wrap. Use whatever size works for your needs. These were a bit large for single servings, but I had them on hand.
Fill with ice cream up to about one inch from the top. I used Salted Caramel Ice Cream.
Cut cake to a size that fits your form. I used a purchased pound cake here, but one of my favorites is a homemade apple pound cake with the Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Sponge cake also works well. Just think of all the fabulous flavor combinations!
My cutter is a little smaller than the bowl I use, but it works fine. Wrap it all up and pop it in the freezer to firm up.
While the ice cream is firming up, go ahead and make the meringue.
Whip four egg whites with a little cream of tartar to form soft peaks.
Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and heat to 240ºF. It’s important to get the sugar syrup to the right temperature for two reasons: first, the hot liquid is going to cook the egg whites and second, to stabilize the meringue. Stabilizing the meringue will help prevent it from “weeping”if making the dessert ahead of time.
With the mixer running, SLOWLY drizzle the hot syrup into the egg whites. The syrup can cause serious burns so be very careful. Don’t be surprised if the egg whites start steaming and the bowl gets hot. That’s a good thing!
Keep whipping as the meringue cools until you get stiff peaks.
Turn the ice cream out onto a serving platter. I used individual dessert plates.
Put the cooled meringue into a gallon size sealable storage bag with a large star tip. Pipe rosettes for an elegant look.
I use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue because I like the control. If you don’t have a torch, you can set it under the broiler, but watch it carefully! It browns very quickly.
Pipe stars for a whimsical look…
…or spread the meringue on with an offset spatula for a rustic, casual look.
Here’s a printable version of the meringue recipe.