Baked Alaska allows you to demonstrate a bit of kitchen alchemy. It’s a baked ice cream dessert where miraculously the ice cream stays frozen protected by an armour of meringue (egg whites are a poor conductor of heat).
It is believed Baked Alaska originates from the late 19th Century. Stalwarts may claim that traditional Baked Alaska should only be made with vanilla ice cream but, as the SaucyCooks have already demonstrated, it works just as well with a fruit based ice cream. My version pays homage to one of my favourite childhood desserts – lemon meringue pie. I’ve used a lemon sponge drizzled with an orange flavoured liqueur, such as Grand Marnier (don’t feel obliged to use this. It’s equally as good without if you want to serve it to children), and spread with marmalade. This is topped with a scoop of lemon curd ice cream which is ridiculously easy to make and encased in a fluffy Italian meringue. It is decadent so perhaps not an every day dessert but it is worth the effort for a special occasion (particularly as so much of it can be prepared in advance).
Enjoy! Don’t forget to check out Margo’s delicious Dandelion Green Soufflé with Fig Gastrique over at SaucyCooks.com!
St Clements Baked Alaska
St Clements is a non alcoholic cocktail combining orange juice and bitter lemon. I’m not sure whether it is linked to the children’s nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons (which mentions the bells of St Clements) in any way but it is a refreshing combination particularly on a hot summer’s day and a similar combination works well here too!
Lemon curd ice cream
- 300g lemon curd*
- 250g mascarpone cheese
- 100ml double cream
- Beat the lemon curd and mascarpone cheese together then stir in the double cream. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturers instructions then pour into a container and freeze until required.
- If you don’t have an ice cream machine, pour into a container then freeze for an hour before beating with an electric whisk. Repeat this process two more times. The final ice cream should be as good as a churned variety.
* You could make your own but shop bought is fine for this recipe.
Lemon and almond sponge
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 100g self raising flour, sifted
- 25g ground almonds
- A few drops of almond extract
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- Grease and line an 18cm square tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Cream the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time with a spoonful of flour beating after each addition (this prevents the eggs from curdling). Add the almond extract and lemon zest.
- Fold in the remaining flour and ground almonds followed by the lemon juice. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden and springy. Cool in the tin before turning out.
Italian meringue** and to finish the alaskas
- 240g caster sugar
- 75ml water
- 3 egg whites
- ½ tsp lemon juice (you could take this from the lemon juice for the cake)
- 2 tbsp orange liqueur e.g. Grand Marnier (optional)
- 2 tbsp orange marmalade
- Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring the sugar solution to the boil and heat until it reaches 120°C (you will need a jam thermometer or digital thermometer for this).
- Meanwhile, put the egg whites and lemon juice into a food mixer with a whisk attachment and beat on a high speed until you reach the stiff peak stage.
- Reduce the speed to medium (I use speed 4 for this on my KitchenAid) then slowly and carefully drizzle in the syrup. Once all the syrup has been added turn the speed up to maximum and beat for a further 2-3 minutes until glossy.
- To assemble the alaskas: Cut four 6cm rounds from the cake. Drizzle each round with a little orange liqueur then spread with some marmalade. Place a scoop of lemon curd ice cream on top of each round. Fill a piping bag with meringue and pipe around the cake and ice cream (starting at the cake base) ensuring there are no gaps. To finish, colour the meringue with a kitchen blow torch or put in a very hot oven (e.g. 220°C) for 2-3 minutes (and no more!).
** If you don’t have a thermometer then you could always make a cold meringue. The end result will be the same.