Monday, 29 August 2011

Baked Alaska


Recipe Number Eighty Two:  Page 369.

Some years ago I tried to make a baked alaska. there is only one way to describe the end result – dreadful! I can't remember what recipe I used, but I ended up with a runny mess. My dad, who will usually eat anything, tried a mouthful and quickly declared that he couldn't eat any more! As we were staying with my parents over the weekend, I felt that I had to try a baked alaska again and see if this time my dad could manage more than one spoonful!!

Those who have read my earlier entries may have seen that I can't seem to make a successful swiss roll. Looking at this recipe, I saw that the sponge base of the baked alaska is essentially a swiss roll. This filled me with dread. I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes for this recipe and now I could see myself falling at the first hurdle! Nevertheless, I made a start. I added eggs and sugar to the mixing bowl and whisked them together on high speed for quite some time. I made sure the mixture was thick enough to leave a trail when I lifted the whisk out. I then carefully folded in a small amount of flour; it was important not to over mix. Now I could turn the frothy mixture into my sandwich tin and then into the oven. While the sponge cooked, I went and watched my little boy showing off to my mum and sister; it was obviously very important for them to know how good he was at wriggling and bouncing!

Once the sponge base was out of the oven it took next to no time to cool down. Mary says to place the sponge base onto an oven-proof serving dish. Mum and I hunted for something suitable but it was to no avail; the base was nine inches and there just wasn't anything big enough. Mum placed some greaseproof paper onto her biggest oven tray; it would have to do! In the instructions I should have put the ice-cream onto the sponge and then put it into the freezer while I made the meringue. I couldn't do this as the oven tray was way too big to fit into the freezer, so I decided to make the meringue first. I placed the egg whites into a bowl and whipped them up with the electric whisk. Once the egg whites were stiff, I spooned in the sugar a teaspoon at a time. This took some time, but eventually my meringue was thick and glossy. Now that the meringue was ready and waiting, I sprinkled some strawberries over the sponge base before placing the ice cream over the top. Working super speedily, I piled the meringue over the ice cream and the sponge. I was so worried about the ice cream melting! I quite literally threw some flaked almonds over the meringue for decoration. I went to place the baked alaska into the hot oven but it wouldn't fit; I had to lower the oven shelf. I should have thought about that first, whoops! 

Finally the alaska was in the oven. It seemed odd putting ice-cream into a very hot oven! After only about four minutes I hurriedly pulled the baked alaska out of the oven. I can't get my head round how normally a meringue gets cooked for hours but on this occasion it is considered cooked in under five minutes! Using the overhanging greaseproof paper, I carefully and nervously manoeuvred the baked alaska from the oven tray to a large plate. I didn't dare try to remove the paper from underneath, so it didn't look that presentable! My sister helped take the all important pictures and found me bowls and spoons so it would make things quicker, I was paranoid that I would serve up a runny mess like last time. It wasn't easy dishing up the baked alaska, but no where near as bad as I'd expected. The ice-cream rather amazingly hadn't melted and the meringue wasn't mushy. Dare I hope for a success?! I had a taste and was very pleasantly surprised; the base was light, the ice cream was still cold and the meringue was crisp on the outside and mousse like inside. Dad ate every last mouth full and thought it very nice, hooray! Mum, bless her heart, over did it and couldn't move for some time! I am so chuffed that I managed to make a successful baked alaska! I should mention that it is for those with a very sweet tooth! I felt an urgent need to brush my teeth after finishing my slice!
Please excuse the greaseproof paper!!! :-)

3 comments:

  1. Oh well done, you've successfully managed to do battle with your demons on this one. The thought of making a baked alaska terrifies me.

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  2. That looks fantastic...could just try a slice!

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  3. Thank you :-) So pleased I gave baked alaska another go. I was worried I would mess it up, but it really wasn't difficult to make. Have a try :-)

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