In honor of our 49th state, we’re making Baked Alaskas! Posting date is October 25.
Individual Baked Alaskas with Vanilla and Coffee Ice Cream
Author: Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
Yield: 12 individual baked Alaskas
For the Baked Alaska Bases
- 1 pint (473 ml) coffee ice cream, slightly softened
- 12 unglazed, unfrosted chocolate cupcakes (see Baked Note)
- 1 pint (473 ml) vanilla ice cream
For the Baked Alaska Meringue
- 7 large egg whites
- 1¾ cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Make the Baked Alaska Bases
- Pull one or two very large pieces of plastic wrap across the top of a 12-cup muffin tin. The plastic wrap should cover the entire tin, plus there should be overhang (6 to 8 inches/15 to 20 cm) on either side. Press the plastic wrap into the bottoms and sides of the cups. Don’t worry if it doesn’t adhere to the sides of the tin; you just want to make sure it conforms to the general shape of the cups.
- Equally divide the coffee ice cream among the prepared muffin cups. Use your fingers to press it into a compact, even layer. Cover the pan loosely with more plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour.
- Slice the cupcakes horizontally through the exact middle. Remove the pan from the freezer, and fold back the plastic wrap on top. Take the bottom piece of each cupcake (right side up is fine) and place it directly over the coffee ice cream, smushing the cake a little to create an even layer. Cover again and freeze for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the vanilla ice cream from the freezer to soften.
- Remove the pan from the freezer, and fold back the plastic wrap on top. Equally divide the softened vanilla ice cream among the 12 frozen cupcake layers. Use your fingers to press it into a compact, even layer. Immediately cover each with the top piece of cupcake (dome facing up) and press gently to adhere to the ice cream. Cover again loosely and freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight.
- Invert the cupcake pan, pulling gently on the plastic wrap to help release the Alaskas. Remove all of the plastic wrap and divide the Alaskas onto two separate, parchment-lined baking sheets or 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33 cm) pans (this will make it easier to brown the meringue on just 6 at a time, which is ideal) and freeze for another 30 minutes.
Make the Baked Alaska Meringue
- After the Alaskas have been frozen for 30 minutes, whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a nonreactive metal bowl (ideally from your standing mixer) until combined. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture registers 140°F (60°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form, adding the cream of tartar when the mixture begins to thicken, after about 3 minutes. When it holds stiff peaks, after about 6 minutes, add the vanilla and beat to incorporate.
- Working quickly, remove 6 of the baked Alaska bases from the freezer. Cover each base in a thick coating of meringue—from top to bottom—taking care that no part of the base is showing, swirling and spiking the meringue as you like. Return to the freezer and repeat with the remaining bases. Freeze for 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
Finish the Baked Alaskas
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C).
- Bake just 6 meringue-covered bases at a time (do not bake one tray on the top shelf and one below), until the meringue starts to brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Keep the remaining bases in the freezer until the oven is free, then bake them at once. Alternatively, you can brown the meringue with a kitchen torch; just a few passes of the flame should do the trick. Plate individually and serve immediately.