Q: What’s sweet, frozen and yummy… and set on fire?
A: Baked Alaska!
Originally, the chef of New York’s Delmonico’s Restaurant created this show-stopping flaming dessert in 1867 to honor the United States acquisition of Alaska. Though the chef didn’t invent the flambéed ice cream cake, Delmonico’s is credited for coining the name “Baked Alaska” to the delight of generations of ice cream cake enthusiasts.
If you’re in the habit of making a special dessert for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, chances are sooner or later you’re going to run out of ideas that have to do with chocolate. We’ve found Baked Alaska usually wins over even the diehard chocoholics. All you need to do is assemble your favorite ice cream (we love strawberry!) on top of your favorite cake and slather or pipe the entire thing with fluffy meringue. Then, when it’s time to serve, ignite an ounce of your favorite eau de vie (any flavor that pairs with your ice cream, as long as it is at least 40% alcohol by volume or higher) and carefully drizzle the flaming liqueur over the dessert. If your sweetheart hasn’t fallen for you by now, this flaming dessert will definitely seal the deal.
Makes 6-8 individual servings
1 recipe Yellow Cake, baked into a 9X13″ pan (or, you can use any cake you like – even frozen pound cake!)
1 quart of your favorite ice cream
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
8 large egg whites, brought to room temperature
1/4 cup Kirsch (or any of your favorite distilled eau de vie – must be at least 40% alcohol by volume)
Round cookie cutter, 3 inches in diameter
Large ice cream scoop
Piping bag fitted with star tip
Small, long-handled saucepan
Long reach (fireplace) match
Punch out rounds of cake and arrange on a sheet pan. Freeze for about 30 minutes. Scoop out the ice cream and place one mounded scoop on top of each cake round. Return to the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes, or overnight.
Prepare the meringue by first cooking the sugar and water together until the sugar reaches 240ºF. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks and slowly pour the syrup in and whip until stiff peaks.
Pipe the meringue in decorative swirls around each ice cream cake. The fluffier the better. Return the cakes to the freezer and freeze for 1 hour or overnight.
Just before serving, lightly torch the surface of the cakes with a kitchen torch. Transfer a cake to an oven-proof plate. Pour the kirsch into a small long-handled saucepan and heat over the stove for a few moments, just until the Kirsch is hot. Carefully ignite the Kirsch in the pot with a match. While the Kirsch is flaming, drizzle over the cake and allow the liqueur to flame out on its own before enjoying!
Here are some helpful videos – just click on the photo and jump to the video: