Baked Alaska is a legendary dessert; if you had it as a child, you probably remember where and when. Layers of rum-soaked cake and ice cream are covered with a mound of meringue and browned, so the dessert is at once hot and cold. You may use one flavor of ice cream throughout, or vary each layer. Chocolate sauce could also be used to form a layer, and certainly can be used to decorate the plates.
- Eggs - 12
- Sugar - 1-1/2 cups
- Flour - 1-1/4 cups
- Rum Syrup
- Water - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Dark Rum - 2 tablespoons
- Egg Whites - 1 cup
- Cream of Tartar - 1/4 teaspoon
- Sugar - 2 cups
- Ice Cream - 1-1/2 quarts, one to three flavors, to taste
To prepare the genoise: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9-by-12-inch cake pan. Beat the eggs and sugar together in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth. Take the mixture off the heat and beat until full volume is reached and the mixture has cooled. Fold in the flour, one third at a time, being careful to preserve the volume. Put in the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until it has puffed, turned golden brown, and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Let stand until cool enough to handle; turn out on a wire rack and let cool completely. Freeze overnight, or for at least 2 hours.
To prepare the syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil; cook until it is syrupy, about 235 F. Remove from heat and stir in the rum. Set aside.
To make the meringue: Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until stiff. Add the sugar and whip on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Set aside.
To assemble: Slightly soften the ice cream. Slice the frozen genoise cake in half vertically, then slice the halves horizontally to make 2 or 3 layers. Brush rum syrup over each cake layer. Place the bottom of the cake on a 16-inch ovenproof plate. Spread with ice cream. Top with another layer of cake. Continue alternating ice cream and cake layers, ending with a layer of cake on top. Work quickly so the ice cream does not melt. Place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
To serve: Heat the oven to 500 F. Completely cover the top and sides of the cake with meringue. Using a spatula, touch the meringue and lift all over the dessert, forming points of meringue. Place in the oven until the tips of the meringue are browned. Serve slices on chilled plates.