April BSFIC: Baked Alaska

As a child of the seventies, I can’t help but love a bit of retro… and Baked Alaska is definitely one retro classic that deserves a more central place in the modern repertoire.

Of course, Baked Alaska (also known as glace au four and Norwegian omelette) wasn’t invented in the 1970s! Wiki tells me the Baked Alaska epithet was bestowed back in 1876 but the basic recipe – ice cream, usually on a sponge cake base, coated in a thick layer of meringue and briefly baked in a hot oven – has been around for a lot longer than that. There are many claims about its origin but one that appeals to me is the mental image of American physicist Benjamin Thompson aka Count Rumford accidentally creating it during an experiment to test the heat resistance of beaten egg whites back in 1804!

My mental association between dish and decade no doubt arises from its popularity in British homes and restaurants in the decade of my birth.

Another part of the appeal may be the apparent craziness of the idea of baking a dish in which a main component is ice cream and it not resulting in a puddle of warm custard. But meringue is a superb insulator and the ice cream doesn’t melt in the brief period of baking needed to cook the outer layer of meringue.

citruscandybakedalaska
Image by Citrus & Candy, used under creative commons license. Here’s her gorgeous-looking original recipe for earl grey ice cream and passionfruit cake Baked Alaska

 

Despite my love for the flamboyance of Baked Alaska – especially when it’s flambéed with rum at the table – I’ve never made it at home. This is something that needs to change!

So April’s theme for Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream is Baked Alaska!

Ring the changes with your chosen ice creams and bases (or perhaps creating multiple layers of different ice cream flavours) or keep it classic. Whatever you fancy!

IceCreamChallenge

 

How To Take Part In BSFIC

  • Create and blog a recipe that fits the challenge by the 28th of this month.
  • In your post, mention and link to this Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream post.
  • In your post, include the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream badge.
  • Email me (by the 28th of the month) with your first name or nickname (as you prefer), the link to your post and an image for my roundup, sized to no larger than 500 pixels on the longest side.

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Email me if you would like to discuss this.

If you like, tweet about your post using the hashtag #BSFIC. I’ll retweet any I see.

I’ll post a round up of all the entries at the end of the month.

 

A Baked Alaska is far more appealing than an April Fool’s joke, don’t you think?

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!
16 Comments to "April BSFIC: Baked Alaska"

  1. kaveyeats

    Wow, that’s so ambitious! Maybe you ate them all on site, though we did _usually_ take our cookery lesson results home with us… but surely the ice cream would have melted?

    Reply
  2. underthebluegumtree

    Happy Blog Birthday! Christ, baked alaska! I am a little concerned my awful freezer which never freezes anything beyond (very) soft scoop may not be up to this challenge but I shall give it a go *fingers crossed*

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Aah, yes I think you need a well frozen ice cream before applying the meringue…

    Reply
  3. FeedTheTang

    Happy 4th blog anniversary! I think JerryFishBiscuits did a baked Alaska post around Christmas, is it ok to link that? or it has to be this month?

    Reply
  4. Choclette

    Happy 4th blogiversary – isn’t it amazing how the years roll by. I’m a child of the 70s, but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten baked Alaska. I know it’s meant to work, but it sounds quite scary to make. Hmm, do I dare?

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I’ve eaten many, but never made one at home from scratch. I think they’re not too complicated though!!

    Reply
  5. young&foodish

    When the origin of a classic dish is in dispute I’m with you, Kavey: Go with the story you like best. But in case the Baked Alaska its origins are now well documented. The celebrated chef Charles Ranhofer of New York’s Delmonico’s served his version of a French dessert, glace au four, to celebrate the USA’s purchase of Alaska. At first he called it Alaska-Florida Cake but it was only after he changed it to Baked Alaska, as Arthur Schwartz writes in New York City Food, “flew out of the kitchen”.

    Reply
    Kavey

    Ooh how intriguing, thanks Daniel!

    I’d guess that relates to the naming of the dish.

    But could still be the case that a dessert of ice cream surrounded by meringue and baked to brown meringue but leave ice cream solid, was invented (without the associated name) some time prior?

    Reply

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