This recipe brings back memories. A dessert that was around in the 1970s (I’m showing my age now!!). I can remember my mum making this and thinking that it wasn’t possible to bring ice-cream out of the oven still frozen. I’ve actually never made this myself and I think when I first looked through this book, this was one recipe that I was rather daunted by, but reading through the recipe now, it all appears quite simple.
I decided to make my own ice-cream for this. Luckily I had pureed a large amount of strawberries during the summer as I had rather a glut of them from the allotment and even we couldn’t eat them all. Once the ice -cream had been made it was put into the fridge to firm up a little more.
The next stage was to bake the sponge base for the ice-cream to sit on. Mary’s recipe makes one large Baked Alaska with the sponge base baked in a 23m (9″) round sandwich tin. I decided on something a little different. My daughter isn’t too keen on meringue and as this is a dessert that has to be eaten in one go – there’s no way you can keep it as the ice-cream will melt, I decided to make four smaller ones using my tiny sandwich tins. This way I could do everyone their own individual Baked Alaska. Had I made this recipe at the beginning of this challenge, there is no way I would have thought of doing such a thing, but now I thought I’d take the risk and pray that they worked out ok!
The oven was put on at Fan 170°C and the tins were lightly greased and the bases lined with parchment.
To make the sponge into a bowl went 2 large eggs and 75g caster sugar. These were whisked together with my electric whisk until the mixture was pale in colour and thick enough to just leave a trail once the whisk was lifted out. 50g self-raising flour was sieved over the surface of the mixture and gently folded in with a spatula. It was basically a swiss roll that I was making. The mixture was divided between the four tins and put in the oven. If you are baking one large cake then it needs to stay in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. My little cakes took about 12 minutes, by which time they were beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin and were springy to the touch. They were removed from the oven and turned out to cool on a wire rack.
The cold sponge was then placed on a heatproof serving dish and you can at this stage sprinkle the sponge with a little sherry. After having a quick look through the cupboard it didn’t appear that we had any sherry, so this part was missed out (Mary does say it’s optional). The base of the sponge should then be scattered with sliced strawberries (approx 225g) (leaving a small gap around the edge). I didn’t have any strawberries, but I did have some of my own raspberries in the freezer, so thought I would use these up. For the large cake you require 1 litre of strawberry jam, this should be sliced and arranged in a dome shape over the strawberries. My little sponge based were ideal for a scoop of ice-cream to be placed on top of the raspberries. These were then put back into the freezer whilst I made the meringue.
Before I made the meringue the oven was put on at Fan 210°C to preheat. To make the merinue into a bowl I put 4 large egg whites and whisked these with my electric whisk at full speed until they were stiff but not dry. 225g caster sugar was then added a teaspoon at a time, whisking at high speed between additions. Once the sugar had all been added the mixture was whisked for a good couple of minutes until it was thick and glossy.
It was now time for the speedy part! The sponge base and ice-cream were removed from the freezer and the meringue was piled over the top and sides, making sure that all the sponge had been covered. If you wish you can sprinkle flaked almonds (50g) over the top. The cake should quickly be put into the oven for about 3-4 minutes until it was well-browned. Keep a close eye on them as they do change colour very quickly. If you have a blowtorch, then you could always colour the tops this way instead.
Once the top is browned, remove it from the oven, sprinkle it with icing sugar and serve immediately…
It was gorgeous. I don’t know why I was worried about baking this, it was easy!