Baked Alaska

Episode 109: Classic Conclusions
Recipe: Baked Alaska

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.

Baked Alaska

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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  • Ginger Boucher

    I am such a fan of this chef and his career. Both father and daughter have such sparkling personalities, and present such a witty, dignified show that is so entertaining you barely realize your being taught by a master chef! The biography about Mr. Pepin was very well done, it is so hard to believe that he grew up during a horrible war and manged to hone such a wonderful sense of humor! I was always a so-so cook until I started watching Jacque and Julia on PBS, what an enlighting show that became for me, it helped shape my families culinary tastes and influenced many a holiday dinner. I am so sorry that I missed him at the museum in New Britain, CT, I had the flu…Keep going Jacque, I have older children who need to learn how to cook and I really would rather have them watch you, the presentation of your new show is perfect for this! Thank you!

  • Amy Howard

    RE: Baked Alaska recipe: it states: “spread the ice cream over the cake, wrapping the sides and top with the remaining cake slices so the ice cream is covered uniformly” Shouldn’t it read: “spread the moistened cake slices OVER the ice cream…etc.”?

    thanks Jacques for such wonderful recipes over the years and your excellent techniques.

    Regards,

    Amy Howard

    • Tina

      Thank you for your question Amy. Once the cake slices are soaked a layer is set on an oven proof dish, then the ice cream is set or spread on top. Next the remaining soaked cake slices are wrapped or arranged over and around the ice cream. Finally the meringue covers it all.
      I have to attest to the delisciousness of this traditional recipe. There are rarely any leftovers…

      Tina Salter,
      Essential Pepin, Series Producer

  • Jan

    I just watched the show where Jacques made the Baked Alaska. Is that his brother that cooked with him on this show? I just loved their camaraderie. It was a comic routine without trying. Great relationship between the two of them.

  • Catherine Jones

    I watched your cooking show on yesterday and enjoyed it so much. I think i am going to try the baked alaska.

  • Sabine

    Thank you for this recipe, we enjoyed it today greatly. On TV Jaques Pepin mentioned that he put the Alaska dish in the form of a Volcano and used alcohol to make thew volcano “erupt”. We tried that today, but it only worked partially. Does anybody have details on how?
    Thank you!

  • iceman4

    I’m making this for Christmas dinner; Jacques is the greatest teaching chef of all time. Julia & Jacques is still the best cooking show ever. Julia was right; Jacques is the best chef in the world!