December 19th, 2005|
Baked Alaska,Holiday Favorite
For those who don't know what a Baked Alaska is, imagine
a meringue-covered mountain of cake and ice-cream, smothered
in chocolate sauce. That's the standard recipe and the
variations on the original are as numerous as there are
Woolly Bugger patterns.
As with any endeavour, let's start with the basics and you can take it from there to where ever you please. (Hmmm,...just like fly fishing).
What you'll need:
Preparation:Freeze the ice cream as cold as you can. Up here, I'll leave it on the front porch over night so it'll be rock solid.
Slice HORIZONTALLY the cake about 1 inch thick.
Assemblage:Open up the box of ice cream so you can cut slices of the product.
Layer onto a cookie sheet a slice of cake, then ½ inch slices of ice cream. You might have to trim and fit the ice cream to get a nice even fit. Keeping the knife in a pan of warm water helps to cut the ice cream. Usually, 2 layers of cake and 2 layers of ice cream should be enough.
Re-freeze the whole thing for a couple hours (or overnight).
In a large clean grease-free glass bowl, whisk together the egg white and sugar to stiff peaks.
Spread the meringue over the cake/ice cream.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and bake the Alaska for 4-8 minutes (or until the peaks are golden brown).
It is best to serve immediately. Since the baking time is so short, one can do this after the meal, right before serving.
Now for the extras:Many folks have already had a Baked Alaska,...So how do you make yours stand out in a crowd? One way is to flambé it with brandy.
We do this. The easiest way to flambé anything is to heat about ¼ cup of brandy in a metal soup ladle for a few moments over a burner. Use a match to light the heated brandy and pour over the dessert. Let the flames die out of their own accord. This way, almost all the alcohol will have burned off. (Turn the lights down or out for the best visual effect.)
We'll also pour a chocolate sauce over the dessert. You can make a good chocolate sauce by blending over a low heat: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips into ¾ cup whipping cream and a dash of vanilla.
Many folks also add fruit inside the layers of the Baked Alaska. I prefer to serve fruit salad on the side, as the pieces of fruit freeze too solid when I prepare everything the night before.
Another trick is to layer Hershey's Chocolate sauce inside the dessert. This type of dessert sauce doesn't freeze, so it stays creamy.
Changing up the ingredients can help to delight and surprise your friends and family. Different flavours of ice cream, chocolate cake,...anything goes.
Just remember that if you plan to prepare the dessert the night before, things will freeze solid. Those slices of pineapple you layer into the pile could easily bust a tooth once they freeze.
Bon appetite! ~ Christopher Chin, Jonquiere Quebec
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