Baked Alaska

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From the Essential Pépin tv series, Episode 109: Classic Conclusions

Made of ice cream surrounded by pound cake, covered with a meringue, and baked briefly just before serving, Baked Alaska is always impressive, and the contrast of cold ice cream and hot meringue is sensational. This classic dessert can be assembled ahead and kept in the freezer until ready to bake. —Jacques Pépin

Serves 8

1 pound cake (about 12 ounces)
2 tablespoons espresso or brewed coffee
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 quart vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
6 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

Cut the cake into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange some of the slices in the bottom of a stainless steel platter or other ovenproof platter.


Mix the espresso or coffee and maple and pour half of it over the cake to moisten it.

Spread the ice cream over the cake, wrapping the sides and top with the remaining cake slices so the ice cream is covered uniformly. Moisten with the remaining coffee mixture. Place in the freezer until you are ready to finish the recipe. (It can be frozen for at least 1 week.)

When the cake is frozen, whip the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. Add the sugar in a steady stream until all is added, and beat at high speed for 30 seconds.

Cover the frozen cake with half of the meringue, smoothing the meringue with a spatula and making sure the ice cream is completely covered. Spoon the remaining meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and decorate the top, and sides. Place back in the freezer until you are ready to bake.

When you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the meringue is tinged with gold. Sprinkle the baked Alaska with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately, spooning or cutting the dessert into bowls.

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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