About this recipe:This marvellous 1970s classic dessert continues to mystify the grandchildren when I tell them that I baked the ice cream, so sweet to see the confusion on their faces. I buy pre-made sponge cake and add the ice cream and egg whites on top to save time. However, you can make the sponge base and top with shop-bought or homemade ice cream.
1L vanilla ice cream
3 egg whites
200g caster sugar
1 pinch cream of tartar
1 (20cm) sponge cake
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Line a 1L pudding mould with several layers of cling film, allowing for several centimetres of overhang. Grease and line a flat baking tray with no sides, so that you can slide the baked Alaska off later.
Press the ice cream into the prepared pudding mould and cover with cling film. Pop in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (this can be done the night before).
Preheat the oven to 220 C / Gas 7.
In a large, clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add half of the sugar and the cream of tartar and whisk until glossy and stiff. Fold in the remaining sugar with a metal spoon.
To assemble, place the sponge on the prepared baking tray. Remove the ice cream from the freezer, discard the top layer of cling film and using the overhanging cling film, gently invert the mould over the sponge so that it slips out and sits on top. Remove all of the cling film and discard. Quickly spread the meringue thickly over the entire dome, including all the way down to the baking tray. For the technique to work, the ice cream and the sponge need to be completely sealed in a thick layer of egg whites.
Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 5 minutes until the meringue peaks start to brown. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the baked Alaska to a serving plate. Serve immediately.
Feel free to vary the flavours to your taste, the opportunities are endless.
It didn't work for me unfortunately. I made the meringue as specified using soft peaks before adding the sugar gradually and I think this was a mistake because the meringue was way too soft and slid down the icecream as soon as I put it in the oven - needless to say the icecream started to melt immediately. I'll try again but whisking the meringue to stiff peaks instead before adding the sugar. I was disappointed because this was instead of a birthday cake for my husband who had to make do with what was left of the icecream I had bought and jelly I had made for the kids - not the show stopper I had planned... - 15 Oct 2014