Back home in Toronto, we were still avoiding wheat, so when we had guests coming over, I needed a dessert made without flour. Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi has a number of recipes that fit the bill, but the one that caught my eye was a retro classic, a baked Alaska.
When I say classic, I don’t mean classic for me, as I didn’t grow up eating it. I mean that it’s a dessert that can be traced back 200 years according to a fascinating article from NPR. The recipe has three components. First up is baking the brownie-like base. It’s made from melted dark chocolate, butter, sugar, cocoa, egg yolks, and whipped egg whites.
Once that layer has cooled, you spread a pint (or two!) of softened ice cream over the base. We used Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. Back it went into the freezer.
Before our guests arrived, I had time to make the topping. This is a simple Swiss meringue (where the egg whites and sugar are heated over a double boiler). I used a closed star tip to make a design, ensuring that all of the ice cream was covered in an insulating blanket.
Once everyone was finished dinner, I popped back into the kitchen to preheat the oven, and took the unbaked Alaska out. To get a nice brown colour, I needed the full 5 minutes at 500°F.
This cake was very well received. I loved how chocolatey the bottom chewy layer was, and how the cold ice cream and soft meringue provided a contrast in every forkful. Perhaps this retro dessert will make an appearance at Pesach 2018.