Pastry can seem a little daunting to a lot of cooks. Measurements are much more key than for savory recipes, and the job often more tedious. However, for me, it's usually pure joy. I have always enjoyed the wonders that come out of pastry kitchens, so being able to work all day with a pastry chef was a sort of childhood dream come true. The smell of the pastry kitchen was also a pleasant change from the steaming hot fish and meat stations, and the calm found there was soothing.
These Baked Alaska were a real pleasure for the eye. I also like the element of surprise: how this spiky white coat hides a soft and smooth scoop of ice cream and a chocolaty moist cake. Speaking of the cake.. it is addictive. It would work nicely to make ice cream sandwiches with, and is really easy and quick to make.
The only problem with this dessert is having to serve it quickly so it doesn't start to melt. I will let you imagine what that can cause in a professional kitchen when the whole restaurant suddenly wants a Baked Alaska for dessert!
345 grams of bittersweet chocolate
8 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons of espresso extract
Large pinch of Kosher salt
140 grams of granulated sugar
4 egg whites
200 of granulated sugar
Passion fruit ice cream
Rasberries, for garnish
For the cake:
Preheat your oven to 325 F (162 C). Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. In the meantime, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, extracts, and salt. Temper the yolk mixture with the melted chocolate (by adding a little chocolate at first, mixing well and then adding the rest of the chocolate).
In an electric mixer bowl, place the egg whites and sugar. Mix until soft peaks form. Gently fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture unti, just blended in. Grease a parchment-lined cookie sheet (with Pam!) and pour the chocolate mixture in. With a pastry scraper flatten out the mixture to obtain an even 1/4 inch layer. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until the cake is just set.
Leave the cake to cool. Once it has, using a cookie cutter just slightly bigger than an ice cream scoop, cut out chocolate cake circles and lay them out small cookie sheet. Scoop a scoop of ice cream in the center of each circle (as quickly as possible so that the ice cream does not get a chance to melt) and place in the freezer. In the meantime, make your meringue.
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together until well combined. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. The bowl should fit the top of the pot snuggly but the water should not touch the bowl. The water should not boil or the eggs will scramble. Whisk constantly so that the eggs do not get a chance to coagulate. Once the egg mixture is a little warmer than body temperature (about 110 degrees) turn off the heat. Place the mixture in a electric mixing bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy.
Place the mixture into a piping bag with a medium size tip. Take the cakes and their scoops out of the freezer. Pipe little meringue peaks all around the ice cream, making they are all close to one another. If the ice cream is melting too fast, you might have to put it back in the freezer for a few minutes before piping again. Once the meringue is piped all around the ice cream, quickly torch the sides of the meringue, making wave movements, and working quickly so that the meringue does not burn.
Serve with raspberries. Enjoy!