18 years ago, I tore out a recipe for Baked Alaska from the August 26, 2002 issue of Saveur Magazine. It’s a classic dessert where ice cream is baked in a hot oven – insulated by sponge cake and meringue. It’s best known as the dessert that cruise ships often serve with sparklers on top on the last night at sea.
This past week for my wife’s birthday, I finally cooked it. I hit a few “speed bumps” in making it – but in the end it worked and was INCREDIBLE. We laughed as we ate it – wondering what took me so long to cook it. Frankly I’d been scared of making it as the recipe looked challenging. I mean think about it – imagine what could happen putting 2 pints of ice cream in a 450 degree oven.
I laughed again when cleaning up my office and found various “quotes” on the importance of JUST DOING IT – Just GETTING UP AND GETTING GOING that I had never included in a blog.
So – this week – here are the quotes – and my rewrite of the Saveur recipe – so to help you not make some of the mistakes I made. I look forward to seeing photos of how your Baked Alaska comes out :).
“We build things quickly and ship them. We get feedback. We iterate, we iterate, we integrate. We have these great winds around: “Done is better than perfect.”
-Sheryl Sandberg Facebook COO
“We’ve invested in building up the infrastructure, tools and culture that tells people to take risks. That gives us the ability to build stuff quicker – this will be a big advantage for us over the long term.”
-Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
“I think bad radio is when you don’t change it up.”
–Howard Stern Sirius Radio Host
“There is really no secret to our approach. We keep moving forward. We are always exploring and experimenting. We call it imagineering.”
“For every great song of mine that has truly connected with people there are hundreds of bad ones. For every great live show, there are hundreds of train wrecks that helped me learn what worked and what didn’t. If you don’t know what you DON’T WANT TO BE, you’ll never become the person you do what to be.”
-Lzzy Hale – Grammy Winning Singer, Songwriter and Guitarist
Baked Alaska (Serves 8)
- To pints of your favorite ice cream
- 7 inch diameter bowl
- Plastic Wrap
- Butter and flour or Cooking Spray for pan
- 8 inch diameter cake pan
- 1/2 cup of cake Flour
- Pinch of salt
- 3 eggs separated
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- Parchment Paper
For the MERINGUE
- 3 Egg Whites
- 2 pinches cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup of sugar
STEP 1: Get your Ice Cream into the proper shape
The center of your Baked Alaska is Ice Cream – whatever flavor you desire.
- Line a 7 inch diameter bowl with plastic wrap up and over the sides.
- (I didn’t do it – and had a challenge getting the ice cream out)
- Add 2 Pints of Softened Ice Cream (your choice of flavor) smooth out the top
- Freeze till hard – 3 to 5 hours depending on how soft it was
STEP 2: Bake the Cake that will be the Base of Your Baked Alaska
- Heat oven to 325° F.
- Grease an 8″ round cake pan; (with butter and flour or cooking spray)
- Mix flour and salt together in a bowl; set aside
- 1/2 cup of CAKE FLOUR
- 1/4 teaspoon of SALT
- Separate 3 EGGS into YOLKS and WHITES – in separate bowls.
- In bowl with YOLKS beat on medium high speed with a hand mixer for a couple minutes.
- Slowly add 1/2 a cup of SUGAR until fluffy
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of GRATED LEMON ZEST and 1 tablespoon LEMON JUICE
- In the bowl with EGG WHITES beat with clean beaters till stiff peaks form.
- Fold egg whites into yolk mixer with rubber spatula. Fold in flour mixture in 2 batches, taking care not to deflate batter. (It’s ok to feel stressed at this moment – I was.
- Pour batter into pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes till a toothpick comes out clean
- Let pan cool then invert into rack – peel off and discard parchment. You can pause at this point till you are ready to serve.
STEP 3: When Ready to Make & Serve – Make Meringue
- Heat oven to 450° F.
- In a mixing bowl add the following:
- 4 EGG WHITES
- 2 pinches of CREAM OF TARTAR
- Beat with Mixer on medium speed till Soft Peaks Form
- Turn Mixer to HIGH – slowly add sugar
- 1/2 cup of SUGAR
- Beating till thick, shiny and stiff peaks form
STEP 4: Here we go –
- Put cake onto parchment lined baking sheet
- Invert Ice Cream onto cake and peel off plastic
- Cover Ice Cream and Cake with Meringue
- BE SURE TO GET bottoms edges or you’ll have a “leak”
- Bake until meringue begins to brown – about 4 to 6 minutes
- Carefully transfer to a cake plate using two metal spatulas
- Serve immediately and ENJOY