Chef Karen: When I first heard about Baked Alaska many years ago, I remember thinking, “Ice cream? In the oven?” Well, I’ve finally tried it and it was the coolest thing! I was pretty intimidated to make this dessert but took a deep breath and created it! I was pleasantly surprised at the turn-out. A few things to mention: Because I only wanted to serve 4 people and not have any leftovers, I made individual desserts. I cut cake rounds out with a cup and used them as my base. I also put the ice cream in ramekins to make them the size and shape to fit the cakes. I put cling wrap in the bottom of a ramekin, then put in the ice cream, folded the wrap over to protect from freezer burn and then placed them in the freezer. It worked perfectly! (I owe this trick to Gordon Ramsey – one of my favourite chefs!) I used the 8 egg whites but really could have only used 4. I dumped at least 1/2 of the meringue down the drain because I had too much. Last thing: don’t worry if you don’t have a small torch to brown the meringue. I don’t – not YET, anyway- and the oven worked just fine. I was worried it wouldn’t brown on the edges but it did. Last but not least, don’t be intimidated! It was a very cool experience and one I will try again!
Chef Jonathan: This is one of those classic desserts that is sort of a rite of passage for every Chef Patissier, and somehow I’ve managed to skip it thus far on my culinary journeys. Thus, I was very happy when Chef Karen suggest that we make it this week. It always sounded like a very challenging recipe, but it’s honestly not if you know a few basic tricks. The cake is easy enough, you can even use a box mix if you prefer, and the ice cream you can buy (if you’re super eager, you can make your own). The fun part of this recipe is the “Alaska”. Like any meringue, just be super careful when separating your egg whites from your yolks, if any yolk gets mixed in, it can ruin the whole meringue. I always make sure my white have reached at least soft peak before adding the sugar. If you add it too early, the whites won’t thicken as they should, and you’ll have to start over. I hadn’t used this recipe for meringue before, so I added a touch more sugar than specified, just to sweeten. I used my special Chef’s torch to darken the edges of the meringue, but a broiler in an oven works just as well, just don’t take your eyes off of it! I really love this recipe, it’s an instant classic and it’s perfect for that dinner party you’ve been dying to plan, enjoy!