There are many great baking partnerships that go hand in hand -Paul and Mary, bread and butter, jam and sponge … I have always considered ice cream and ovens to not be one of these! Yet the Baked Alaska is a classic dish adored by masses?? So, I set myself the challenge to create a Baked Alaska showstopper dessert.
I think there must be a tiny part of every baker attempting this dessert that holds their breath and squats by the oven ‘Great British Bake Off style’ watching for any sign of ice cream leaking through when baking. It just doesn’t seem logical that an ice cream can bake in the oven without melting, but if you follow these foolproof steps I assure you it does!
You can make the Baked Alaska as simple or complex as you like – make your own ice cream, use shop bought, bake you own sponge or use premade flan bases. If you want to make a real showstopper try mix and matching different flavoured ice cream and sponges too.
I chose to make my own vanilla ice cream, using vanilla bean paste which gave the most delicious rich vanilla flavour and had gorgeous vanilla flecks running through it. I filled this in small pudding moulds (you can also use ramekins) and left to freeze.
Once solid, I carved out a dip in the centre (sneaking a cheeky teaspoon of the leftover ice cream for myself – obviously for tasting purposes!) I filled the hole with a teaspoon of raspberry jam, covered in cling film and popped back in the freezer. The beauty of this is that it can be made days in advance saving you time.
I then made the meringue using a super clean bowl (this is important in order to achieve the best meringue) and added a touch of cream of tartar to stiffen it up. Using a pastry cutter I cut out circles of sponge, the same size as my ice cream moulds and began to assemble.
Work quickly to assemble your pudding as you don’t want your ice cream to begin melting before being baked, I learn this the hard way with one of mine. I was really generous with the meringue coating and made sure that it was spread right to the bottom meeting the baking tray and covering the base, sealing in the ice cream.
I then baked the meringues, sitting with my nose pushed against the oven door and my fingers crossed. They came out …. perfect!
I went for the more rustic approach with my meringue but you could pipe it on for a most spectacular showstopper.
So there you have it. Ice cream and ovens can work together and boy did the results taste yummy!!!
Try this Baked Alaska recipe for yourself here.