As it’s been a while since we’ve posted here, let’s do a quick catch up:
a) My family published a cookbook of family recipes that have been passed down for generations. The process was extremely fun, gratifying and intense (it took us a little more than a month to go from conception to print). I helped compile the recipes and shot all the photographs for the book — a dream come true for me. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at Mappila classics, this is a good place to start. You can buy a copy here: https://www.qitaab.com/product/family-table/
b) I’m getting married in December and suddenly, my Instagram discovery page is full of bridal wear and I don’t know how to make it stop!
c) I can now make perfect, fluffy ghee rice, and if that isn’t adulting hard, I don’t know what is.
Now that I’ve caught you up, I want to share a recipe for a dessert that is as retro as they come; a gorgeous, showy, blousy dessert that is as fun to assemble as it is to eat. Baked Alaska is my dad’s favourite dessert, and since we celebrated his birthday two weeks ago, it feels like a good time to share the recipe.
A Baked Alaska has a base layer of cake with a dome of ice cream on top that gets smothered with fluffy meringue that you then brown with a blow torch. I am old-school and anything that has burnished meringue on top has my vote. Mum has been making this dessert for as long as I can remember, but every time she switches the ice cream or even the cake layer, it tastes completely different. For this post, we used mango ice cream and tender coconut because summer, but really, whatever catches your fancy.
RECIPE: BAKED ALASKA
For the sponge cake
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking pwd
2 tbsp water
For the ice cream dome
1 litre ice cream
For the meringue
2 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
To make the sponge
Beat the eggs until light and frothy. Start adding sugar slowly, 1 tbsp at a time till you get stiff peaks. Add the flour in 3 batches, alternating with a tbsp of water each time, mixing gently to incorporate. Pour into an 8x12 inch tin square tin and bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes or until it springs back when you touch it.
To make the ice cream dome
Line a bowl that is about 6 inches in diameter with enough cling film to create an overhang. Let the ice cream thaw just enough that it is soft.
Press the ice cream into the bowl, packing it in firmly. Cover the top with the overhanging cling film and freeze until frozen solid (best to keep it two days if you live in a tropical place like Kerala).
To make the meringue
Beat the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl till it is frothy. Add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time till you get stiff peaks. Next, add the vanilla essence.
Transfer to an icing bag.
Cut a round in the cake to the diameter of the ice cream bowl (in this case, 6 inches) and place on a serving plate.
Take the ice cream out of the bowl and carefully place it on top of the cake. Pipe the meringue onto the ice cream. Use a blow torch to brown the meringue to colour the edges.