Tropical baked Alaska
- A challenge
- May/June 2020
- Serves 8-10
- Hands-on time 45 min, oven time about 40 min, plus overnight freezing and cooling
Here’s a baking project to try: the famous ice cream dessert that goes in the oven. Try our incredible tropical baked Alaska: cut away at the meringue outer to reveal a passionfruit ice cream and coconut sponge cake waiting for you inside. You can make some of it ahead, too.
Fancy the original? Give our classic baked Alaska recipe a go.
- 49.8g (31.3g saturated)
- 64.5g (59.2g sugars)
For the ice cream
- 6 tbsp passion fruit curd (from large supermarkets and delis)
- Grated zest 2 limes, juice 1 lime
- 300g condensed milk
- 600ml double cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
For the coconut cake
- 125g butter, softened
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 60g plain flour
- 1-2 tbsp milk
For the meringue
- 4 large free-range egg whites
- 220g caster sugar
You’ll also need
- 16cm diameter freezerproof bowl (1 litre), lined with 2 sheets of
cling film overhanging the rim
- Electric mixer
- 18cm round, loose-bottomed cake tin, greased and the base lined with compostable baking paper
- To make the ice cream, mix the curd, lime zest and juice together in a small bowl, then set aside.
- Put the condensed milk, cream and vanilla in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to whisk until thick and voluminous. Using a metal dessertspoon, add the curd mixture, a spoonful at a time, gently swirling it into the ice cream mixture to create a ripple.
- Carefully spoon the ice cream into the lined bowl, cover with cling film, then freeze overnight until solid.
- For the cake, heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and creamy. Slowly whisk in 1 egg followed by half the dry ingredients, then repeat with the
remaining egg and dry ingredients (don’t overmix). The mixture will look slightly curdled but don’t worry.
- Gently mix in the milk, then spoon the mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes until springy to the touch. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. If the cake has domed, trim the top flat with a bread knife, then set aside (see Make Ahead).
- When you’re ready to finish the Alaska, heat the oven to its highest setting, then make the meringue. In a large clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks using an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking back to stiff peaks after each addition, to make a thick and glossy meringue.
- Put the cake on a large heatproof platter. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and lift it out of the bowl by pulling on the cling film. Invert the ice cream on top of the cake, then remove the cling film.
- Spoon the meringue evenly over the ice cream, swirling into patterns and making sure you don’t leave any gaps at the base. Put the Alaska, on its platter, on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes until the meringue turns a toasty golden colour and is crisp on the outside and mallowy inside. (You can use a cook’s blowtorch instead.) Serve without delay!
If you can’t find any passion fruit curd use lemon curd for a more citrussy dessert.
We’ve made a no-churn ice cream that’s high in fat, which means it will take longer for the ice cream to melt, buying you a little more time when smothering with meringue and baking.
Freezing the ice cream overnight is vital for a rock-solid centre that won’t melt in the heat of the oven and ruin all your hard work.
The cake recipe is denser than a classic sponge so it can hold the weight of the ice cream and meringue and make cutting and serving easier.
When whisking the sugar into the meringue, make sure the mixture returns to super-stiff peaks before adding more sugar, then whisk for 2-3 minutes more for even stiffer peaks, so you can swirl it into patterns that will hold their shape.
Cover the ice cream with the overhanging cling film and keep in the freezer for up to a week. The cooled sponge will keep, well wrapped, for up to 2 days.
Freeze the egg yolks for up to 1 month, then use in custard, hollandaise or mayonnaise.
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