My inner geek is fascinated by the science of Baked Alaskas. Putting frozen ice cream coated in meringue into a 230ºC oven is counter-intuitive, and I’m always convinced that it’s not going to work, but it does!
I’ve provided both a ‘cheat’s version’ and a do-it-all-yourself version here, depending on how much time you have available.
Fig & Walnut ice cream encased in honey & brown sugar meringue, on a Madeira-sozzled sponge…. puddings don’t get better than this.
Honey, Fig & Madeira Baked Alaskas
Ingredients (makes 4)For the Sponge:
- 1 egg
- 60g butter
- 60g caster sugar
- 60g self raising flour
- 1 tbsp Maderia or Marsala
- OR cheat’s version – 1 shop-bought Madeira cake, sliced lengthways into 1.5cm thicknesses, then cut into circles
- 2 egg yolks
- 225g Mascarpone Cheese
- 50g icing sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 4 Dried Figs, chopped finely
- 4 Walnut halves, chopped finely
- OR cheat’s version – 1 tub shop bought very good quality vanilla ice cream, defrosted until stirring consistency then stirred through with figs and walnuts as above
- 2 egg whites
- pinch cream of tartar
- 60g caster sugar
- 20g light muscavado sugar
- 25g honey
- handful flaked almonds
1. Preheat oven to 180oC
2. For the Ice Cream: Whisk the mascarpone, icing sugar, vanilla and egg yolks together until smooth and light. Stir through the chopped figs and walnuts. Line 4 of a 6 hole muffin tin with cling film and divide the mixture between them. Freeze overnight.
3. For the Sponge: Beat together all the sponge ingredients. Divide the mixture between 4 of a 6-hole muffin tin and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Turn out of the tins and leave to cool upside down, so the tops become flattened.
1. Preheat oven to 230 oC
2. For the Meringue: Whisk egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Add the cream of tartar and whisk again briefly to incorporate. Mix together the muscavado and caster sugars until there are no lumps, then whisk into the egg whites until glossy and smooth. Finally, drizzle over the honey in a very fine drizzle and fold through the mixture with a metal spoon.
3. To Assemble: Slice the tops off the sponges to create circles about 1.5cm thick. Eat the discarded sections, (cook’s prerogative). Brush the sponge bases with Madeira or Marsala.
4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or parchment. Place the sozzled sponge circles onto the baking tray, then turn out an ice cream portion on top of each sponge and remove the cling film. Spoon the meringue mixture on top of each portion, and use a knife to spread it all over the top and sides. (You could use a piping bag, but I think life’s too short).
5. Bake in the oven for 3-4 minutes until the meringue is turning golden all over.
Serve immediately before the ice cream melts!
This recipe was developed for the CafeDirect Coffee Matching competition, and was designed to go well with their new Mayan Palenque flavour. Their attempt at making them was posted on twitter (below), but I don’t think their oven was nearly hot enough – the meringue seems to have slipped off the ice cream which has then melted.
Be warned – 2 minutes at 230oC is absolutely precise, don’t be tempted to skimp on the temperature!