Monday, 28 March 2011
Number 13: baked alaska
The preface to this one is a confession that I like to read recipe books. I'm not quite sure when this began, but I have it in the same category as my ability to spend hours looking at maps. There is a ton of social history in both of them and I seem to get absorbed in weedling it out from between the precise measurements and contour lines.
I found this recipe for baked alaska in the mighty Good Housekeeping tome while flicking through looking for wedding cake recipes. Sponge cake, topped with raspberries, then a huge mound of ice cream, covered in meringue and baked.
Baked ice cream. The stuff of Margot Leadbetter legends.
The 70s are a clear enough memory for me that I am pretty sure I haven't eaten this before, probably because it was ridiculous even then and my parents have a post-doctoral grasp of chemistry which is enough for any sane person to know that meringue needs more than four minutes cooking.
Brushing all of this to one side, I spent Saturday afternoon making a fatless sponge (turns into crisp trifle biscuits if you leave it unguarded for more than 5 minutes) and marinating raspberries, ready for the evening. After a huge curry, while we were all on the edge of nausea after too much naan, what better thing to rustle up than dry cake topped with raw egg?
I piled the meringue on top of the ice cream, put the oven up to scorchio, and chucked it in for the regulation four minutes. And who would have guessed it, it actually turned into something that looked edible! The guests started with small bits, but when no-one instantly vomited people actually had seconds.
The scorched bits had turned into a sweet chewy layer and the cake/ice cream/raspberry combo was enough to mask the (still scary) layer of sugary, gloopy meringue. And the good news is, no-one was dead the next day either.
The 70s came to visit for the evening, but, while it was fun, I think baked alaska might be safest put back into its flares.
Posted by ellen's 52