Snowy peaks are a new take on traditional Baked Alaska
Paul Clerehugh, owner and head chef at the Crooked Billet in Stoke Row and London Street Brasserie in Reading, shares
Paul Clerehugh, owner and head chef at the Crooked Billet in Stoke Row and London Street Brasserie in Reading, shares his recipes with Standard readers.
HERE’S a Christmassy twist on Baked Alaska, inspired by those snowy peaks of royal icing covering a Christmas cake. Snowy peaks, in many cases, can serve the additional advantage of hiding a multitude of baking catastrophes, including sunken hollows akin to the dips of the Hambleden Valley.
Because this meringue actually cooks during the whisking process, it only needs a couple of minutes in a hot oven to brown. Your crème brûlée blow torch will achieve the same results. The meringue acts as an insulator preventing the ice cream melting.
For the base:
1 litre of good quality vanilla ice cream
Crumbled Christmas pudding
8 circles of sponge cake, 7cm round, 1cm thick
For the Italian meringue:
120g egg whites (3 large eggs)
240g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Remove the ice cream from the freezer, soften slightly and fold in the crumbled pudding. Place scoops of ice cream on sponge discs, refreeze to firm up.
For the meringue, boil the sugar and water until it starts to caramelise (121°C if you have a sugar thermometer).
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Whisk egg whites to soft peaks with an electric mixer, slowly pour in the boiling sugar syrup, continue mixing until meringue cools to lukewarm. The meringue is now cooked.
Load the meringue into a piping bag. Remove ice cream on discs from freezer, place each on a square of greaseproof paper.
Pipe snowy peak ‘hedgehog prickles’ on to each so the ice cream and sponge disc are completely encased.
Place Alaskas, still on their greaseproof squares on to a baking sheet and pop into the preheated oven for two minutes or until the meringue lightly browns. Serve immediately.