The first and last time I had Baked Alaska was when Mr. Kitchen Misfit and I (still only just dating at the time) went to Sardi’s in NYC. It was INSANELY expensive ($22) but it was huge and it was delicious. Plus they lit it on fire right in front of you. And we were on vacation. So spending $22 on dessert was deemed to be acceptable.
This was my first daring baker’s challenge and so I was really excited to get into it. (If you don’t know what the Daring Baker’s Challenge is, check it out here). I have to tell you, this was definitely a dish that took ALL.DAY. but in the end, I was very impressed with myself.
Anywho, onto the fun stuff…..
The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
First off was the brown butter pound cake. You can find the recipe for it here, I followed it pretty much exactly.
I was nervous about a couple things. One, this is H-E-A-V-Y on the butter. Lots of butter. Mounds of it.
See? I wasn’t kidding. And I was very very afraid of burning it. I kept checking to make sure it was the right color and continually asking the hubby if it looked right.
But thankfully it came out perfect.
Then, instead of making a whole cake, I decided to divide the mix into 4 large ramekins. I didn’t want to overload on the Baked Alaska, since I was only making it for my husband and myself, so dividing it up made sense.
Next came the ice cream. I brought out my handy dandy Perfect Scoop book and settled on making a raspberry cheesecake ice cream. Recipe is as follows:
Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Ice Cream
Recipe from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
For the cream cheese ice cream
- 8 oz cream cheese (I used light)
- 1 lemon rind
- 1 cup sour cream (I used light)
- .5 cup half and half
- 2/3 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
Cut cream cheese into small pieces and place into blender. Add rest of ingredients and puree until smooth. Chill thoroughly and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instruction.
For the raspberry swirl
- 2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen`
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
Puree raspberries in a food processor with the sugar and water until smooth. If you prefer, press the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds. Or, if you are lazy like me, skip that step.
Afterwards, I took out 2 of my mini brown butter cakes and filled the ramekins with the cheesecake ice cream and raspberry sauce, alternating until I reached the top. Then I stuck them in the freezer to freeze thoroughly. I don’t have a torch, so I had to stick my Baked Alaska’s in the oven in order to get the brown crunch and I wanted to make sure that my ice cream was frozen solid.
Next up, the meringue. This proved to be the hardest part of all, and resulted in me having to throw away the first batch because I couldn’t get the eggs stiff enough. The second batch was more successful, although I still would have liked them to be stiffer.
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp lemon extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6-8 tbsp sugar
This recipe is on the small side because I only made enough meringue to cover 2 of the Baked Alaskas. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Mix in the sugar 1 tbsp at a time until fully dissolved, then mix until stiff peaks form.
At this point, I took my ice cream disks out of the freezer, cut off the tops of my mini brown butter cakes, and stuck the ice cream on top. I smothed it out a little and slathered on the meringue. In hindsight, I should have put more meringue, but I didn’t. Oh well. Then I put them back in the freezer for another hour or so before placing them in a 500 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or when there was enough browning for my liking.
Now, before I reveal the beautiful end product (ignore the fact that you’ve already seen it up top there) I wanted to show you what my kitchen looked like after this entire process.
Don’t worry, I cleaned it up. In the end, it was all worth it. I enjoyed it, the husband enjoyed it. It was a success all around. But don’t count on me making it again anytime soon!
I have to say, not bad for my first Daring Baker’s Challenge. Looking forward to the next one!