Baked Alaska – French Earl Grey Ice Cream and Passionfruit (Daring Bakers August 2010)

August 27, 2010

Baked Alaska

To skip this rant and onto the original post, scroll down…

*Edit May 2012: A “similar” recipe to this was recently discovered to have been used on the Seven Network’s reality tv cooking show My Kitchen Rules (season 3) by contestant Samantha Bui as well as published in the accompanying cookbook and on her blog (now erased). And by “similar” I mean the same earl grey ice cream, the same passionfruit brown butter pound cake and the same recipes with virtually the same ingredients and measurements. I believe the similarities are too blatant to be a coincidence. Naturally they all denied any wrongdoing.

I normally let things like this slide because it’s the ugly side of food blogging that we all have to deal with regularly but publishing two plagiarised recipes in a cookbook is wrong and credit should be given where it’s due. Legally we have no recourse but I’m not going to lie down and stay quiet about it for their benefit. Petty? Oh god yes. Satisfying? Oh god yes.

So let it officially be known that the original recipes of this Baked / Bombe Alaska (fyi not bomb MKR) belongs to Gourmet and David Lebovitz (and I had permission to use it through The Daring Bakers). As for the earl grey ice cream and passionfruit cake idea?


Stick that in your pipe MKR.

Baked Alaska

*Ah feels better* Now onto the post!

I confess that I’ve been a little slack with Daring Bakers this year. A challenge there, a challenge here… and one that was half half done…all pretty much last minute rush jobs.

I also admit that it wasn’t just poor time management that was my downfall but rather because I’ve struggled to find inspiration with challenges this year. Nobody’s problem but mine. It was just hard for me to get in the mood for ice cream with two frozen dessert challenges in a row (these past few nights have been soooo cold! Wah wah wah). And now I was to face my nemesis, meringue, for the second time in three months. 

So on to the Baked Alaska. Classic dessert, but I’ve always preferred not to ruin my cake and ice cream with meringue, so it’s one that I’ve never thought to make. I’m such a meringue hater, oops. But this presented an opportunity to wield a mother-of-a-blowtorch that I, coincidently, recently purchased with a high level of glee from my local hardware store. Glee for my new weapon and glee for the tradie perve fest at Mitre 10. Yee ha! (I’m so tragic)

Butane Torch

I knew I wanted to do a French Earl Grey ice cream ever since I bought these awesome tea leaves from T2. If you had smell-o-vision, you would understand why I’m so in love with it. It’s the aroma with its ambrosial bergamot and big punches of fruity and floral notes. It smells peachy and zesty but the fragrance from rose and hibiscus is just as alluring. It’s fabulous stuff and in an ice cream, it’s superb. For the base, I did a passionfruit brown butter pound cake, which as a fruit flavour, I love with tea. The cake was originally quite dry, which would’ve been made worse in the freezer, but thankfully the extra moisture from the passionfruit pulp helped soften it.
Baked Alaska

My piping skills are atrocious so I just grabbed a palette knife and starting icing the thing. Now the fun part. You really need a giant-assed blowtorch for maximum toasting fun and to watch how quickly the Baked Alaska burned was a sight to behold. As for the dessert itself. No matter how hard I try, I really don’t like meringue especially when it is in a soft, marshmallowy form. I’ll just take the cake and ice cream separately thanks.

Baked Alaska

But what’s an Alaska… without fire?
Lets flambé! There’s something so camp about the word flambé but in any case, lets bombe this baby! All you need is alcohol that would put hairs on your chest. At least 40-50% alcohol content is fine, although the stronger it is, the longer it’ll take to burn out and your meringue would probably char to a crisp before sliding off from the melting ice cream. Anything 60% or 120 proof? Uh, stay away because you would literally be making an Alaskan (fire)bomb.

Bombe Alaska

Can you tell I like fire in the kitchen? But remember, fire is not to be trifled with so please proceed with responsibility and caution. That is my community announcement for the week. Cheerio!

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Baked Alaska - dissected

The requisite dissection shot – about 0.2 seconds before it all slid off and fell apart!

Note – Jump over to the Daring Kitchen website for the original and full recipe of the Baked Alaska. I’ll leave you with the recipes for the ice cream, cake and meringue.

French Earl Grey Ice Cream and Passionfruit Baked Alaska
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French Earl Grey Ice Cream
  1. 500ml pouring cream (35% fat content)
  2. 250ml milk
  3. 2 Tbl French Earl Grey tea leaves
  4. 4 egg yolks
  5. 100g caster sugar
Brown Butter Pound Cake
  1. 275g unsalted (sweet) butter
  2. 200g sifted cake flour (or 170g plain flour plus 30g cornflour)
  3. 1 tsp (5g) baking powder
  4. 1/2 tsp (3g) salt
  5. 110g light brown sugar
  6. 75g granulated sugar
  7. 4 large eggs
  8. 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Meringue (For the Baked Alaska)
  1. 8 large egg whites
  2. ½ tsp (3g) cream of tartar
  3. ½ tsp (3g) salt
  4. 220g fine caster sugar
French Earl Grey Ice Cream
  1. In a pot over medium flame, heat the cream, milk and tea leaves together to a low boil, while stirring constantly to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom. Once bubbles start to form on the edges of the cream mixture, remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes for it to infuse. Feel free to adjust the amount of tea to the strength that you want.
  2. After infusing, strain the tea leaves out of the cream mixture.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugars until pale and thickened. While continuously whisking, pour in the cream mixture in a slow, steady stream. Tip the whole mixture back into the pan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of the spoon thickly.
  4. Strain into a container and cool completely, preferably overnight in the fridge. Then churn in your ice cream machine to manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Scrape into an ice cream container and freeze. For the Alaskas, place them in your desired moulds lined with clingwrap, level and freeze.
Brown Butter Pound Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
  2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
  3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
  6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Note – for passionfruit cake, just mix through the passionfruit pulp from as many passionfruits as you want (I use about 2 tablespoons).
Meringue (For the Baked Alaska)
  1. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.
To Assemble Baked Alaskas
  1. Cut out round shapes from your cake at the same diameter as your ice cream moulds. Place ice cream disc on top of your cake and ice or pipe all over with meringue making sure not to leave any gaps. The meringue acts as insulation for the ice cream so make sure to plug all the gaps.
  2. With a blowtorch, torch the meringue all over until golden. Alternatively you could bake it in the oven until brown.
Citrus and Candy

Baked Alaska