Thursday, February 12, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Baked Alaska for Valentine’s Day

Guess what!
Valentine’s Day is on the day after tomorrow.
I know… We all had such great plans.
Just like we planned to do stuff for Christmas.
Then life got in the way.
You’ve got it… the big plans can’t be done.

Don’t panic.
Handle it like a birthday.
The dessert will make the meal.
It just has to be pretty.
Candles would help.

Go for the sizzle, not the steak.
Steak, yeah, that could work for the main course.
On a budget?  Serve burgers with a gravy and call it Salisbury Steak.


Back to the dessert…
Got some leftover cake, ice cream and egg whites?
Great - you can serve Baked Alaska.

Hints:

You can do most of the work in advance.
You just have to do the browning a la blowtorch (or broiler) before serving.

Either a baked brownie or a spongecake would work best for this.
Also a pound cake, or a regular white or chocolate cake would do.
Even quicker - thick slices from the bottom of two cupcakes would work.

You could put the meringue in a piping bag with a plain tip to make a meringue "beehive" around each scoop of ice cream: start at the bottom of the cake and pipe a ring of meringue around the ice cream so that it completely covers the cake edge.
Continue to pipe meringue around the ice cream, making sure you completely cover the ice cream.
Finish with a small circle at the top.

Or you could scoop and plaster the meringue on the ice cream and cake.
Don't smooth it - the meringue tips will get a nice browned effect.

If you have a small blow torch, turn your torch to a medium low setting, and use it to brown the outside of the meringues instead of using the broiler.

You could add a squiggle of chocolate or raspberry sauce on each plate.
Or not.


                        Baked Alaska

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Using a 3 inch round glass, cut 2 circles out of the cake, and place them on the foil.
Leaving a small margin of cake all the way around, place a scoop of ice cream (any flavour) in the centre of each piece of cake.
Place the cake and ice cream in the freezer and freeze for at least 4 hours.

The meringue

Place in a medium mixer bowl
3 egg whites
Beat at medium speed until stiff peaks are formed.
Add gradually, beating constantly
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
With mixer on high speed, beat egg white / sugar mixture for 5 minutes, until the meringue forms very stiff peaks.

Remove the cake / ice cream bases from the freezer.
Cover one cake / ice cream with half of the meringue. 
Repeat with remaining meringue on the other cake / ice cream.
Return them to the freezer until ready to serve (see above in hints).

Just before serving

Turn your oven to broil.
Remove the pan holding the meringue-covered desserts from the freezer.
Place the baking sheet under the broiler.
Be sure to leave the door open and keep an eye on them.
You only need about 30 to 45 seconds for the meringues to turn brown.

Remove the pan from the oven.
Place one meringue in the centre of each plate, relax and serve.

Don't disagree when told how hard it must've been to make such a unique dessert.

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