Sunday, September 19, 2010

flaming baked cappuccino alaska

One of the Jacobsen family traditional favorites is Baked Alaska. It's a very special dessert and would usually only be made for very special occasions - such as when Dad's little brother was in the States.
It's best when it's eaten all in one sitting, so having a table full of people was also a prerequisite!

John and I didn't have anything special happening, but a few days ago I had a hankering for some charred meringue atop of a slice of ice cream and cake. Plus, I felt that John needed to experience something that I had such fond memories of!

I knew the gist of the recipe by heart - slices of cake in the bottom of a pie dish topped with ice cream and meringue, brown the meringue, splash it all with some alcohol and strike a match - but I pulled out my copy of the Joy of Cooking just to be sure. :)

According to the Joy of Cooking, the first step is to line your baking dish with a half inch layer of cake - both sponge and angel cake are recommended. My family always used pound cake which tasted delicious and stood up to the weight of the ice cream quite well. I deviated from both and used a pan of brownies as the base.

Next, make up your meringue. Beat 6 egg whites until frothy. Beat in 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, a pinch of salt, 2/3 cup sugar (adding the sugar slowly) and 1 tsp vanilla and continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff.

Once the meringue is quite stiff and glossy, mound 1 - 1 1/2 quarts of slightly softened ice cream on top of the cake. I used coffee ice cream, but any flavor combinations are acceptable! Fruit flavored ice cream is especially good.
Joy of Cooking says to next lay strips of your cake over the mounded ice cream. I didn't, and my meringue didn't quite cook through, so I am guessing that this is an important step! At this point you may choose to freeze the Baked Alaska for 30 minutes or so to firm it up.

Spread the meringue over the ice cream and cake, taking care to cover right down to the edge of the baking dish.
Rinse off half of one of the egg shells and place it on the top (this will hold the alcohol).
Brown the whole thing under a 500 degree broiler for no more than 3 minutes. It browns quickly, so watch carefully!
Grab some plates and forks and matches and tell everyone to gather round! Pour about 2-3 tblsp of alcohol into the egg shell and shake the Baked Alaska so that some runs down the sides. Strike a match, turn off the lights ... and voila!

1 comment:

Jane said...

let's have some when you come!

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