Monday, April 15, 2013

Baked Alaska with Rum Raisin Ice Cream

                                                              Baked Alaska

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The Silver Fox and I will be celebrating a landmark anniversary next weekend. I'll not be cooking for the occasion but in anticipation of the event, he asked me to make a Baked Alaska for him. I was more than happy to oblige because it gave me an excuse to make one of my favorite ice creams, a smooth and rich rum raisin concoction that is made with the world's happiest raisins. You'd be happy, too, if you spent a day immersed in that amount of rum. Baked Alaska is an old dessert that is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. It sounds difficult to make but nothing could be farther from the truth. The dessert has three distinct stages and all but the final toasting can be done a day ahead of time. I made the ice cream and the sponge layer for the cake I'm featuring tonight, but both could have been purchased at the grocery store and used in the assembly of the baked Alaska. Time is the only trick to successfully making this dessert. I generally assemble the cake, including the unbaked meringue covering, the day before I plan to serve it. It goes into the freezer and stays there until 15 minutes before I plan to put it in the oven. It takes minutes to brown the meringue, and because this is such a festive dessert I go one step further and flame it at the table. Children, and the Silver Fox, love this dessert. It is amazingly versatile and any flavor cake or ice cream can be used to assemble it. If you are looking for something that is festive and a bit out of the ordinary, do give this recipe a try. The ice cream, which comes from Saveur magazine, is especially delicious. Here is how the Baked Alaska is made.

Rum Raisin Ice Cream...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Saveur magazine


1 cup raisins
1 cup dark rum
3/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1) Place raisins and rum in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until raisins soften and absorb rum, at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons rum. Set raisins and rum aside.
2) Place sugar and yolks in a large saucepan and whisk until pale yellow and lightened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add milk, and stir until smooth. Place over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens and coats back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a large bowl. Whisk in drained raisins along with reserved rum, cream, and vanilla. Cover custard with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface of custard, and refrigerate until chilled.
3) Pour custard into an ice cream maker, and process according to manufacturer's instructions until churned and thick. Line a 7″-diameter bowl with a 15″ piece of plastic wrap, allowing excess to hang over rim of bowl. Pack ice cream into bowl, smoothing top, and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours. Yield: about 6 cups.

Sponge Cake

Unsalted butter, for pan
1/2 cup cake flour, plus more for pan
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1) Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8″ round cake pan; set aside.
2) Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3) Beat sugar and eggs in bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Stir in juice and zest and fold in flour. Pour into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool completely, invert onto a rack, and set aside. Yield: 1 layer.


1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar

Place cream of tartar and egg whites in bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add sugar and beat until stiff but not dry peaks form.

Final Assembly

To serve, place cake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Invert ice cream onto cake and peel off plastic. Cover ice cream and cake with meringue. Bake until meringue begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Using 2 metal spatulas, transfer to a cake plate and serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.

One Year Ago Today: Orange Blossom Tea Cake with Grapes and Olive Oil

Two Years Ago Today: Turkish Shepherd's Salad

Three Years Ago Today: Chocolate Babka

Four Years Ago Today: New England Clam Chowder


Ginny Hartzler said...

Oh my, the fanciest of fancy! I have never tasted one!!

David said...

Looks amazing. Give me a spoon now!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Mary it looks wonderful! I am so impressed by your breezy "Oh it's so easy" attitude when all of those steps sound quite challenging to me!

Priya Suresh said...

Omg, wat a terrific baked alaska, seriously stunning.

From the Kitchen said...

That has a big "WOW" factor!! I haven't thought of baked Alaska in years. I'm wishing you and the Silver Fox a great anniversary and hoping you'll be spending it in the happiest of ways.


Tricia @ Saving room for dessert said...

Congratulations on your big day - and on the beautiful dessert. This is on my bucket list and I can't wait to try it!

Kim said...

Baked alaskas are so awesome! There is something special about these! Love the flavors you choose!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

This is fantastic, Mary! I've always been terrified to try Baked Alaska - guess I'm afraid I'll end up with a bubbling ice cream soup! But I must confess to a little culinary envy here - I'm going to have to master this one. And, the Rum Raisin Ice cream sounds like a real keeper! Hope you have a great week!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

The dessert looks so impressive, Mary! I know the silver fox must've enjoyed it very much. Happy Anniversary to both of you and I'll bet you'll be treated to a wonderful dinner to somewhere special.

Unknown said...

Well, happy early anniversary :) And what a great little treat to start the celebration! I love baked Alaska, although it's always intimidated me when it comes to making it. You make it seem so easy!!!

Cranberry Morning said...

Isn't this the most elegant and impressive dessert! I remember my mom making Baked Alaska once and it was such an exciting venture. :-) The ice cream looks fantastic. said...

I remember the first time i had this and was so impressed. You have also impressed me...

Susan Lindquist said...

I laughed when I saw your post ... sometimes, it's so uncanny how you post things that I have been thinking about! Baked Alaska is on my vulinary bucket list ... have been thinking about making it when I have a few dinner guests and thinking about a way to make individual Alaskas so I don't have to worry about cutting into a big one or dealing with leftovers ...

Joanne said...

My boyfriend has been really wanting to try baked alaska so I think this is going to have to happen in our near future!

David said...

Mary, The baked Alaska is beautiful. The ice cream looks and sounds terrific. I think that you might have spoiled the Silver Fox? Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary. Ours is next weekend as well! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes said...

Baked Alaska is something I've always wanted to try making! I was always intimidated by it, though. You make it look so easy!

decocinasytacones said...

WOW!, this came out just perfect!!!!
I always thought this kind of recipes are really difficult.
Should I give a try?

Red Nomad OZ said...

Although I LOOOOOOOVE Bombe Alaska, it strangely never occurred to me to use anything but plain old vanilla ice-cream!! This lifts it to a whole new level!

Happy anniversary!

teresa said...

i've never had a baked alaska, but it looks and sounds wonderful!

Foodiewife said...

We just had a Baked Alaska at a restaurant a couple weeks ago. It had been decades since I've had one. I thought to myself that I'd like to make one myself--now I can. Rum raisin... I've always shied away from that flavor, but now it sounds good to me (now that I'm in-love with MaiTai cocktails). I can do this! Thanks for the inspiration.
Congrats on your anniversary.

kitchen flavours said...

That is one impressive looking dessert! Have heard of Baked Alaska but have never tried it before. And rum and raisin ice cream sounds good, the last time I made them was years ago!!
Happy Anniversary to the both of you!

Blond Duck said...

I've always heard that it's super hard to make this!

Sugar et al said...

Wow! This looks incredible. So so beautiful. I have attempted Baked Alaska once but wasn't too happy with my results. But now the way this looks and sounds...I am tempted to try again. Congratulations on your anniversary Mary!

Mr. & Mrs. P said...

This is one of Mr. Ps favorite desserts!! Looks delicious!

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