Baked Alaska

By now you should have enjoyed two delicious courses, drank some fine wine and, most importantly, now just be staring into each other’s eyes. If you can draw yourself away long enough, we have one more little treat for you.

Our final retro treat for you is a real blast from the past. This is a really fun dish, and sharing a large one makes it even more exciting. Just imagine sinking your spoon through the crisp outer layer into marshmallowy meringue, then boozy smooth ice cream, all the way down to the chocolate brownie base. With all that on the spoon it’s going to take all your will-power to feed this to your loved one, and not shove it your own gob.

A traditional baked Alaska usually has a sponge base but I thought chocolate brownie sounds a bit more decedent and if this is not the day to spoil someone then when is?

The impressive thing about the baked Alaska is that it goes into the oven to cook the outside, and the ice cream within stays frozen. To protect the ice cream it is surrounded by a layer of Italian meringue. This differs from a normal meringue (French meringue) in that instead of sugar being mixed in, very hot sugar syrup is mixed with the egg whites, which cooks them. This process means you get a very stable meringue which will hold its shape for days in the fringe compared to a normal one which will collapse after a few hours.

BAKED ALASKA

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • One quantity of Chocolate Brownie
  • One tub of good quality vanilla ice cream
  • 25ml Amaretto
  • 60g/2½oz sugar
  • 5 tsp water
  • 1 free-range egg white

Method

  1. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften slightly at room temperature, then bash in the booze.
  2. Scoop the ice cream into a cappuccino cup or similar sized mould, pressing down tightly.  Put it back in the freezer to harden.
  3. Using a mixer, whisk your egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  4. Place the sugar and water into a pan and slowly bring to the boil until the syrup reaches 121C, using the probe I told you to buy in the last post.
  5. Whilst whisking, drizzle the sugar syrup into the egg whites in a  steady stream, (ensuring it doesn’t hit the beater in your mixer, as this will cool the syrup and cause it to solidify)
  6. Keep whisking the eggs whites and sugar syrup for about another 5 minutes.
  7. Cut a disk of chocolate brownie about 1cm larger than the mould you used for your ice cream.
  8. Place your meringue mixture into a piping bag.
  9. Remove the ice cream from the mould and place onto the brownie base.  Pipe the meringue around, encasing the ice cream and ensuring there are no gaps.
  10. At this point you can either bake in the oven at 200′c, or if you’re feeling flash and cheffy, and want to impress your girl, whip out your blow-torch, and cook the meringue until nicely browned.  (Please just put it in the oven if you’ve had a few glasses of wine).
  11. Serve and eat immediately, before the ice cream melts.

Our work here is done………..

……….the rest is up to you!

 

Dark Chocolate Brownie with Blackberry Coulis

When picking damsons the other week for my vodka, I noticed lots of blackberries still on the bushes.  I had already been out picking a while back, and have stocked up the freezer ready to make some apple and blackberry pie in a few weeks.  But I didn’t want to let the last berries go to waste, so I decided to go out for one last picking session before the birds get them all.

What I decided to do with the berries this time was to make some coulis.  Blackberry coulis goes very well with desserts, and particularly well with chocolate, especially chocolate brownie.

There is nothing more cheffy than decorating a plate with some coulis, using a squeeze bottle.  So go picking, get yourself a squeeze bottle, then you can start shouting at your sous chef like the best of them.

Dark Chocolate Brownie with Blackberry Coulis

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 250g blackberries
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100ml water

Method

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a pan, and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes until the fruit goes soft, then pour into a food processor.
  2. Whizz the berries, then pass through a fine sieve to remove any seeds.
  3. The coulis can now be poured into a bottle (if you are feeling cheffy), then chilled ready for use.

 

Dark Chocolate Brownie

Ingredients

  • 275g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 225g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180′c
  2. Melt the butter over a low heat.  Then add the chocolate and stir til melted in.  Mix in the sugar, and remove from the heat.
  3. Beat in the flour, vanilla, then each egg, one at a time.
  4. Grease 10 individual mousse rings, and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Divide the mixture between the rings, and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. If you are serving the brownies straight from the oven, they will not be quite set, and will be quite gooey in the middle.
  7. To serve, lift the brownie onto the middle of a plate using an egg slice.  Run a knife round the ring and lift off.  Decorate the plate with coulis, and serve with a scoop of ice cream.