Mark Greenaway: Baked Alaska

Here's how it should look. Pic: Jane Barlow
Here's how it should look. Pic: Jane Barlow
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This week the recipe I am sharing with you is one of my all-time favourites, Baked Alaska.

The great thing about Baked Alaska is that it’s one of those really comforting desserts. Soft, fluffy sponge, frozen ice cream, all smothered in hot, crisp meringue. A show-stopping dessert to wow your guests and family alike.

Despite its appearance, the dish is actually fairly light and refreshing. Traditionally there is no accompaniment, but there’s nothing to stop you matching the flavour of the ice cream with some sauce on the side. So if you choose strawberry ice cream for the inside just a little jug of strawberry sauce on the side will go down a treat.

Sponge

125g unsalted butter

125g caster sugar

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod

3 large free range eggs

45g plain flour

50 full-fat Greek yogurt

125 self-raising flour

2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk

Heat your oven to 160C. Line a 30cm metal tray with some buttered greaseproof paper (you can also use a cake or loaf tin for this as you are going to cut it to shape once it’s baked anyway).

Using an electric mixer whip the butter, sugar, vanilla together until light and fluffy. Pour in the eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is well incorporated before adding the next. If the mix starts to look like it is going to split rather than combine and be smooth just add 1 tbsp of the plain flour.

Add in the Greek yogurt using a large metal spoon, fold the flour into the egg and sugar mix followed by the milk. Gently spoon the mixture into the tray and bake for 12 minutes (a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean when it’s ready).

Blueberry Parfait

225g Blueberry purée

3.5 yolks

187g caster sugar

55g for meringue

3/4 tablespoon glucose

1.5 egg whites

225ml double cream

1.5 leaves gelatine

Whisk egg yolks until pale and light. Boil 132g sugar and glucose until soft then pour over egg yolks. Whisk until cold.

Warm creme fraich and add in softened gelatine. Whisk egg yolks and rest of caster sugar to make meringue.

Whip cream until soft peak. Fold all ingredients together. Decant into an ice cream tub and freeze for six hours or overnight.

Meringue

150g egg whites

225g caster sugar

Put your egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and start to whisk. Once they have formed a soft peak, slowly add sugar in a fine stream, a little at a time, whisking continually. I suggest you use an electric mixer for this to make sure the meringue becomes nice and stiff and glossy.

Once all the sugar is incorporated and dissolved transfer to a piping bag with a small plain nozzle.

To build the Alaska

Cut your sponge out using a 4cm ring cutter or a small sharp knife. Scoop your ice cream on top of the sponge and place back into the freezer to keep it super cold.

Decoratively pipe your meringue all over the ice cream and sponge base, making sure you have no gaps for the hot air to get in and melt the ice cream. Place back into the freezer until ready to serve.

To serve and bake

Preheat your oven to 200C. Place the Alaska into the middle shelf and close the oven door. Give the Alaska two minutes only and check the colour of the meringue as it may just need another minute to become golden brown.

Please be warned, once the meringue starts to colour it can burn quite quickly and nobody wants that to happen so just keep your eye on it!

Serve straight away.