Baked Alaska is a dessert comprising the seemingly impossible combination of hot meringue and sponge with cold ice-cream. It was created at Delmonico's in 1867 to celebrate the acquisition by the USA of the territory of the same name. It was popularized by Jean Giroix, who was chef of the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo.

The bane of microwave oven advertisers, who would like to say anyhing can be cooked in their little wonders; along with Peking Duck, they had to admit defeat in this case.

It is the amazing insulation power of the sponge and meringue, due to the huge amount of air trapped in their structures, which prevents the ice-cream from melting while the whole dessert is baked in the oven for a whole 10 minutes.

Preparation:
  • Ice Cream - Pack ice-cream into a mixing bowl, and freeze for at least 8 hours.
  • Sponge - Bake a light sponge cake in a tin of approximately the same size as the opening in the bowl of ice-cream.
  • Meringue - Make enough meringue to liberally cover everything.
Place the sponge on a baking sheet covered with greaseproof paper. Turn the ice-cream out on top, and cover the whole lot with the meringue mix. Ensure the meringue comes right down to the baking sheet, otherwise the heat will get in.

Now place in the oven, which has been preheated to 220C, 425F, Gas Mark 7. Bake for 8-10 minutes on the lowest shelf until the meringe starts to brown.

Time the cooking carefully, so your guests are ready for it immediately after it comes out of the oven.


Source:
http://www.met-office.gov.uk/calendar/january.html (really)
http://www.hub-uk.com/cooking/tipsalaska.htm
Thanks to NordicFrost for the microwave section.

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