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It’s the CLASSIC, “the boss is coming over for dinner” story right out of the movies. Except this time, it’s real, so YOU have to come up with something that’s REALLY SPECTACULAR! THIS movie is going to have a happy ending, and YOU’RE going to be the STAR! Even if you consider yourself to be “pastry challenged!” How? Well believe it or not, a show-stopping dessert can start right in the frozen foods aisle, and NO, it’s not a Sara Lee cake! This is a dessert YOU make. In keeping with the movie theme, I’ll call this movie “Back to the Dessert Future” because back in the day, a lot of people made desserts at home, and one of the most elegant desserts of the day was Baked Alaska.
You can probably guess how Baked Alaska got its name.
Yep; it’s named after our 49th state. Actually, ice cream baked in pastry goes back in culinary history much further than the Alaska rendition first prepared at the equally famous Delmonico Restaurant in New York City in 1876. Its name (Baked Alaska) is in honor of the then-recent acquisition of our largest state. However, the name of this frozen dessert, unlike all the others before it, stuck and resulted in a classic dessert that is still served at some of the most fashionable dinners on the social calendar. And it’s soon to be served at yours! It starts, of course, with ice cream. Then, it’s covered with two layers of insulation, cake, and meringue.
Where does the “baked” part come in?
After you’ve smothered your ice cream with cake and meringue, you bake it in a VERY hot oven until golden brown. It’s only in the oven a short while, so the insulation of the cake and meringue will prevent the ice cream from melting. You also have two other ways to brown the Alaska, which is to use your broiler, or you can choose the most “modern” method and use a blow torch! Finally, if you want some extra drama, you can flambé your Baked Alaska for a fiery ending by placing half an eggshell into the top of the dessert and pouring a tablespoon of warm liquor into it. Light it and WOOSH!!! You’re the star!
Sound too good to be true?
Not really! Check out my video to see just how easy it is! You can use any flavor ice cream or cake that you like.
Awesome Pumpkin Baked Alaska
Although ice cream was “invented” earlier and even encased in a pastry prior to this, the term Baked Alaska was coined by New York City’s Delmonico Restaurant in 1876 to commemorate the purchase of the Alaska Territory by the United States. Its frozen interior and snow-white meringue are reminiscent of Alaska’s wilderness beauty.
1 – 8” Yellow Layer Cake
2 Cups Canned Pumpkin
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 TBSP Pumpkin Pie Seasoning
1 Cup Chopped Pecans (Optional)
½ Gallon Vanilla Ice Cream, Softened
1 Cup Egg Whites
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
2 TBSP High-Proof Alcohol (of Choice)
- Cut layer cake in ¼” thick slices and line the interior of a 6”-diameter, dome-shaped bowl. (Stainless-steel, plastic, or any freezable bowl)
- Mix together canned pumpkin, the 1st quantity of granulated sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie seasoning. Whisk until all the sugar has fully dissolved and mixed in.
- Stir pumpkin mixture into the vanilla ice cream and pecans (optional). Then fill the cavity of the cake-lined bowl to the top and place an additional slice of vanilla cake over the top surface of the ice cream to cover.
- Re-freeze until firm.
- Preheat oven to 450 F or have a blow torch (recommended) available to brown finished Alaska.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, over a double boiler, dissolve the 2 cups of granulated sugar into the 1 cup of egg whites. Stir with hand or whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved into the whites. It will appear syrupy and slimy.
- Remove the warmed egg white mixture and whip on high speed until VERY stiff.
- Remove frozen ice cream dome and turn out (flat side down) onto a round platter that is safe for oven baking.
- With a flexible spatula, ice the frozen dome of cake and ice cream with the stiff meringue to a thickness of at least 1” all the way around. Decorate with additional meringue if desired. For an additional flair, insert an empty ½ eggshell “cup” at the very top of the dome, which you can pour warmed high-proof liquor in after baking to create a dramatic flame!
- Place iced Alaska in a 450 F oven for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or blow torch with a medium flame until golden brown all the way around. The meringue and cake will insulate the ice cream and prevent it from melting.
- Remove Alaska from the oven and present on a service platter. If you have used an eggshell for garnishment, warm liquor and pour into eggshell and ignite for a dramatic effect. (Use extreme caution when handling any flambéed food product.)
- Cut into wedge-like portions and serve.