Individual Baked Alaska with Cherries Jubilee September 2015
Holland America , A Taste of Celebration
A kitchen torch makes Baked Alaska much easier to prepare than if was in the past. And individual portions lend them a current cachet.
Cake and Ice Cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ pints cherry ice cream, softened
Meringue and Cherries Jubilee Sauce
2 ½ cups sugar, divided
8 egg whites
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup cherry juice (available in health food stores)
¼ cup orange juice
1 pint Bing or other dark, sweet cherries, rinsed and pitted (or use frozen pitted cherries)
½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ cup brandy or kirsch (clear cherry brandy)
Cake and Ice Cream
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 12-by-17 inch baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper and the sides of the pan and set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt the 6 tablespoons butter and set it aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk the 1 1/3 cups flour with the salt; set aside.
Bring about 1 inch of water to a bare simmer in a wide saucepan or in the metal bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar whisk until pale in color.
Set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk constantly until the egg mixture is warm. Remove bowl from over water. Using a hand mixer or the whisk attachment of the stand mixer, beat the warm egg mixture until it is lemony looking, tripled in volume, and very thick, stopping two or three times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating until the bottom of the bowl is cool.
Remove the bowl from the mixture (if using) and, with a sieve, sprinkle a third of the flour mixture over the egg mixture. With a rubber spatula, fold them together. Repeat with the next third of the flour, then fold in the melted butter. Finally fold in the remaining third of the flour.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool completely. Invert the cake onto the rack and peel away the parchment paper.
Cut the cake into six 4-inch squares, reserving the remainder for another use (it can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 2 month). Place the squares on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top each with ¾ cup ice cream, speaking it out smoothly as best as you can before it melts. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.
Meringue and Cherries Jubilee Sauce
For the meringue: In a small saucepan, still 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup water over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil without stirring and continue to boil until a candy thermometer registers 248 degrees F.
A few minutes before the sugar syrup reaches temperature, beat the egg whites in an electric mixed fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. With the mixture on low, slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup, taking care not to pour it directly on the beaters (which could make it spatter). Gradually increase the speed to high and continue whisking until the meringue is stiff and cool, about 7 minutes. Reserve.
For the cherries: In a wide saucepan, whisk together the remaining ½ cup sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in the cherry juice and orange juice; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened.
Stir in the cherries and orange zest and return to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
While the cherries are cooking, remove the cake and ice cream and place the squares on individual plates. Check the meringue; if it has firmed up, rewhisk it briefly. Working quickly, cover each ice-cream cake with a generous amount of meringue, using a spreader or spoon to form little peaks all over the surface. Using a kitchen torch (see note), heat the meringue until the edges of the speaks are nicely browned.
To assemble: Turn off the heat under the cherries and make sure there’s plenty of clear air space above the saucepan. Stir in the almond extract and pour in, without stirring, the brandy. Standing well back from the stove, tilt the saucepan away from you and carefully ignite the alcohol with a long match held at the edge of the saucepan. After it’s lit, move the saucepan gently back and forth until the flames die out. Spoon the sauce around each baked Alaska and serve immediately.
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