Raise your hand if you know what Baked Alaska is. Keep them raised if you've actually attempted to make the damn dessert. Now, stand up, clapping your hands together, if you were 100% successful (and people actually ate it and loved it)!
According to Wikipedia, the desert far predates the "Baked Alaska" moniker, which originated from France and is known also as Glace au four, omelette à la norvégienne. Okay...but what is it exactly? Simply, it's sponge cake topped with ice cream, which is then topped with Swiss meringue and browned in the oven.
Success in making this depends on two things: making the perfect Swiss meringue and insulating the ice cream completely (so it doesn't melt in the million-degree oven)!
To get started, you need to brush up on Meringue 101, which you can find here.
Watch the video (and enjoy the music) to learn how to make Swiss meringue. Then, get started on the making of Baked Alaska.
Vegetable oil, for brushing
1 pint raspberry, passion fruit or other sorbet, softened
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened
1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (about 17 crushed wafers)
1 loaf pound cake
Make the ice cream cake: Brush a 3-quart metal bowl with vegetable oil; line with plastic wrap. Fill the bowl with scoops of the sorbet, vanilla ice cream and half of the chocolate ice cream, alternating small and large scoops to create a mosaic of colors and shapes.
Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the ice cream; press down to close the gaps between scoops and even out the surface. Remove the plastic wrap, sprinkle the ice cream with the wafer crumbs and re-cover with the plastic wrap, pressing gently. Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.
Remove the wrap and spread the remaining chocolate ice cream in an even layer on top of the crumbs. Cut the pound cake into 1/2-inch-thick slices; completely cover the ice cream with the slices, trimming as needed (you'll use about two-thirds of the cake). Cover with fresh plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Make the meringue: Watch video above to learn how.
Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, then invert the cake onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If necessary, let the cake stand overturned until it slips out.)
Remove the rest of the plastic wrap and cover the ice cream completely with the meringue, making the dome-shaped top slightly thicker than the sides.
Form swirly peaks in the meringue using the back of a spoon. Freeze for at least 3 more hours.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Bake the cake until the meringue peaks are golden, about 4 minutes, or brown the meringue with a blowtorch. Let the cake soften at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Freeze any leftovers.
Enjoy your Food Network Baked Alaska! Be sure to click here to see what you can do for your sweet table to make it pop!