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Baked Alaska

September 8, 2009

Why Baked Alaska? My husband mentioned it a few times, so I asked him what the deal was with Baked Alaska. Was he dying to have some? His response was “I know it’s hard to make.” Those are fighting words! Neither of us had ever eaten it, and I don’t think he knew what it was, but I knew I was up to the challenge. And the really fun part is that as you read this, we are in Alaska! It was fun to eat Baked Alaska while planning our trip to Alaska.

I did some research in cookbooks and online and found that there are a lot of interpretations of this classic dessert.  I decided to make two individual-sized servings. These have a brownie base and chocolate peanut butter ice cream: one of the tips I found when researching is that you want an ice cream that will contrast the color of the meringue. This was also an opportunity to use a couple of things I was planning to make anyway, and to use some egg whites that I had in the freezer. So although there are a lot of components to this dessert, it wasn’t too much work to make it.

BakedAlaska2

The components:

  • For the base, I used a brownie baked in a standard-size muffin pan. When I made Brownie Buttons for Tuesdays With Dorie, I baked a few in my regular muffin pan, left the white chocolate off, and stashed them in the freezer. You could also use cake or a brownie cut into a circle about the same size as a scoop of ice cream.
  • For the ice cream, I used this Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream.
  • For the meringue, I whipped three egg whites with 1/3 cup sugar and a tiny pinch of salt. If you have a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours, look at the meringue tips on page 400. I used a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whipped the whites and salt on high speed for a couple of minutes, then added the sugar slowly. I stopped when the meringue was smooth and glossy and pretty stiff: if you can flip the whisk attachment upside down and the meringue holds a peak, it’s ready. Three egg whites was more than I needed for two servings, but I baked the extra meringue to use in another recipe. Two egg whites should be more than enough for two servings. [Note: the meringue doesn’t bake for long, so standard warnings about egg whites apply. If you have any concerns about eating an undercooked egg, use pasteurized eggs or buy egg white powder.]

The assembly:

  • Put the brownie base on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put one scoop of ice cream on each brownie. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (overnight is fine too).
  • After the brownies and ice cream have been in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, make the meringue. If you want to pipe the meringue like I did, put it in a pastry bag with a large star tip.
  • Move the oven rack to the lowest position and start the oven heating to 500 degrees F. Take the baking sheet out of the freezer and either pipe the meringue on or spread it on with a knife, making swirls and peaks. Be sure to cover the entire brownie and ice cream. Put the baking sheet back in the freezer until the oven is up to temperature.
    Here’s a Baked Alaska ready to go into the oven.

BakedAlaska1

  • When the oven is heated, take the baking sheet out of the freezer and put it in the oven. Stand there and watch it; it will brown quickly. When it’s browned but not burned, take it out. Serve immediately: if you want to do any fancy plating (which I didn’t!) have it queued up ahead of time. Or do what I did – I made my husband come into the kitchen just in case the Baked Alaska didn’t make it to the plate in one piece (although it did).

Enjoy! This was a fun treat to make, and if you have the brownie (or cake) and ice cream ready to go, you just have to do some last-minute meringue making and baking.

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11 comments

  1. How fun! I like the idea of doing this as individual servings…… This is one of those “iconic” recipes that has always intrigued me but has always sort of scared me (for some reason – the thought of putting ice cream in the oven is hard for me to get my hands around). Hmmmmm, I may have to give this a try soon!

    BTW – I had never heard of freezing egg whites and am curious about that. I seem to have egg parts left over…. this may be a way to save them. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!

    Hope your trip to Alaska was all you hoped/planned….. that is one place on our list to see…… soon!


  2. That looks gorgeous! And doesn’t sound too hard to make. I’m going to have to try it sometime!


  3. JILL! This is just STUNNING!!!! I’ve only had baked Alaska once and now I want to make it myself!

    I hope you and your hubby are having a fabulous time in Alaska!


  4. That looks fabulous! Great job! The chocolate alone sounds heavenly, then brownie! Gorgeous meringue, too!


  5. I love this post – what a beautiful dessert! I’ve heard of Baked Alaska my whole life but have never made any (I think I had some in a restaurant once). Thanks to your tips, I think I could do it, and just might do so when I have the components on hand.


  6. Wow, this look delicious!
    I never had Baked Alaska, I’m going to try it:))
    Thanks for sharing.


  7. What a cool thing to make and the meringue piping is amazing! I’ve always been so intimidated by Baked Alaska, but it sounds like it would be fun to give a try.


  8. Wow! It looks awesome. Great job!


  9. Looks great. I think it is such a fun dessert. I remember the first time I ever had one as a kid. I was in love.


  10. looks AMAZING! Great work


  11. looks spectacular! i never thought to make this since it’s such an old school traditional dessert, but you’ve inspired me!



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