Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there! I would love to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to my mom and grandmom because those two ladies were certainly instrumental in helping shape the lady I am today but they passed away some years ago. This time of the year is still painful for me because we were so close in my adult years. I almost feel like an orphan now, but instead of focusing on that…I try to remember the great things they did. The laughter we shared in the kitchen and around the dining room. My grandmom, (“Groggy” she’s lovingly nicknamed by me cause when I was a little girl I couldn’t pronounce grandma so I called her Grogg Grogg. Later on, I added the “Y” to the end of Grogg and it stuck with her!) could cook up a storm and bake! All from scratch too. I got to live with her for a year while I was going to college. At that time, she was suffering from arthritis so she didn’t have the strength she once did, nevertheless I was able to cook in her kitchen and have her guide me. I learned a lot! My mom was also an incredible baker and cook too. She didn’t like to cook, but she loved to bake. I wished I had picked up as much of her baking skills as I did her cooking skills but oh well…
I still learned so much about growing up from both of them. I didn’t have a father in my life so I looked to them for a lot of things (I did have a step-grandfather who really tried to fill that void so I was blessed.). You don’t realize how much someone means to you until you don’t have them around anymore. Still, I’ve dedicated all my cooking to both of them! They were Grand Ladies! So, for today I thought something elegant would show tribute to them and when I saw this Baked Alaska cake photo, I thought, AHA! I’ve even included two different recipes for it. One is a shortcut starting out with a sponge cake and the other totally from scratch which would please Groggy very much! She did not like box or can anything! Also, it was ironic that I chose to post Baked Alaska because if any of you play Gourmet Ranch on Facebook, this is one of the dessert choices and one of my favorites to make in the game! I guess it was meant to be. So, I’ll post first the quicker of the two recipes:
1 eight inch sponge cake layer
4 egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
1 qt. firm ice cream (any flavor, I would use Neopolitan so I get all three of my fav flavors.)
Beat egg whites until foamy, add sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Place cake on heavy unfinished wooden tray or heatproof platter. Spoon ice cream on the cake leaving a 1 inch border all around. Cover ice cream and cake completely with egg white meringue. Brown meringue lightly in a very hot oven (500 degrees) for 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Now to Make Baked Alaska from Scratch:
This recipe uses Strawberry, Vanilla ice cream with Lemon juice and zest!
4 large eggs plus 7 egg whites, divided
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons lemon zest, divided
3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 pints premium strawberry ice cream, softened
1 pint premium vanilla ice cream, softened
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a 9-in. springform pan with cooking-oil spray and reserve. Pour 2 in. water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Put 4 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and the vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over simmering water, making sure bottom doesn’t touch the water, and whisk egg mixture constantly just until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is no longer cool to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add 2 tbsp. lemon zest to egg mixture and whip on high speed with whisk attachment until batter is pale in color, has thickened considerably, and drops in ribbons when whisk is lifted, 7 to 8 minutes.
3. Sift flour over egg mixture in several batches, folding after each batch just to incorporate. Add butter in 2 batches, folding just until incorporated.
4. Pour batter gently into prepared pan. Bake until cake is cooked through and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 26 to 28 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then remove sides of pan.
5. Meanwhile, line a metal mixing bowl (9- to 10-in. diameter) with enough plastic wrap to hang over rim. Chill in freezer 15 minutes. Put strawberry ice cream in cleaned bowl of stand mixer (now fitted with a paddle attachment) and beat on medium speed until ice cream is smooth and malleable (like taffy), about 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, spread ice cream into chilled bowl, smoothing surface as flat as possible, and return to freezer.
6. Put vanilla ice cream, lemon juice, and remaining 3 tbsp. lemon zest in cleaned bowl of stand mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and malleable (like taffy), about 1 minute. Spread over strawberry ice cream. Press cake on top of lemon ice cream, trimming to fit if needed. Fold edges of plastic wrap over cake. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
7. Preheat oven to 475°. Put egg whites and cream of tartar in cleaned, dry bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; beat on high speed until whites are foamy, about 1 minute. Add remaining 1 cup sugar and continue to beat until whites are stiff and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes.
8. Remove cake and ice cream from freezer and take off top layer of plastic wrap. Carefully dislodge ice cream layers from sides of bowl by pulling up on plastic-wrap liner. Invert bowl onto an ovenproof plate and peel off outer layer of plastic. Using an offset spatula, mound meringue on top of ice cream and then work downward, spreading meringue evenly over top and sides of cake and ice cream. Bake until meringue is browned and toasty, 6 to 7 minutes. Serve immediately.