Baked Alaska for The Daring Bakers Challenge – Brown Butter Pound Cake with Brandied Peach Ice Cream
I know that my schedule has been a bit off kilter over the last few weeks and that I have been writing less and putting posts out on odd days. We are exactly two weeks away from Food Blog Forum Atlanta, so things are rather hectic here in the South! I am running about like
a chicken with its head cut off a very professional business person trying to pull everything together. Once the big event is over, I promise to be a little more consistent in my posting.
In the meantime, maybe you will forgive me if I post a spiffy version of a timeless classic – Baked Alaska. This lovely dessert is this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. I was excited about making more homemade ice cream after making it for last month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. You can never have enough ice cream desserts (unless you are the Bunkycooks and then the cake and ice cream stuff must definitely come to a screeching halt after this month)! In case you don’t remember or weren’t here to read it, last month’s challenge was the Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake with “Liquored Up” Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream! Does anyone have a treadmill I can borrow??
The Daring Bakers Challenge for August was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking (she’s actually 18 now, but I guess you can’t change your blog name every year). Jen of Sugar High Friday partnered with Elissa on this challenge and chose brown butter as this month’s theme ingredient (that’s kind of like Iron Chef, but…not!). Elissa then chose to showcase it in the form of brown butter pound cake. Since it’s Summer and August is sooo hot, we were also asked to make homemade ice cream and make either Ice Cream Petit Fours or Baked Alaska combining the two ingredients.
As already mentioned, I chose to make the baked Alaska. The version I used to make many years ago when I was just a kid had chocolate cake or brownie, vanilla ice cream and meringue. That was the traditional way it was made and it was very tasty and impressive to look at. Everyone loves torching food or seeing someone else torch their food! I thought it was pretty nifty when I was young and still do..
Since we were required on this challenge to make a brown butter pound cake (19 tablespoons of butter, no less!), I thought that the Brandied Peach Ice Cream would be a nice compliment to the nutty and buttery flavor of the cake. Those two ingredients and a little meringue and there you have it! Baked Alaska!
Well, of course, in the Bunkycooks house, nothing is ever easy, so naturally, I was out of my Brandied Peach Ice Cream (who eats all of this stuff?) by the time I got around to making the cake. So then, I ran to the store to get peach ice cream. It’s August and I live in Georgia (which happens to be the “Peach State”) and I can’t find peach ice cream! You’ve got to be kidding me! I was also amazed that the peaches for sale in the grocery store were from California. What is up with that?! Thankfully, I had success at the next store. Problem solved, so I got over it.
Everything was now going well…cake made and cut into rounds, ice cream frozen in molds and perfect meringue. I assembled everything and we were looking good, but as I piped the meringue from the pastry bag after the first Baked Alaska, the meringue was getting softer and not holding it’s shape very well (can you say humidity?), so some of my little cakes look like Casper the Friendly Ghost! Check out the picture towards the top!
I have to say that these are pretty little desserts and lovely for a dinner party. I liked the brown butter pound cake (who wouldn’t with all that butter?!) and know that I would have preferred it with my own ice cream, but the Breyer’s peach ice cream was okay. I found the meringue a bit too sweet for my taste. I liked it well enough when I was a kid, but I guess my tastes have changed. I also liked Fluffernutter back then too, so what?
After trying this newfangled version, I think I would stick with the old-fashioned one that I used to make with chocolate and vanilla (just call me boring), but it was fun to revive an old classic and change it up a bit!
Thank you to Ellisa and Jen for hosting another fun challenge!
Baked Alaska with Brown Butter Pound Cake and Brandied Peach Ice Cream
Makes 4 3-inch individual cakes
Brown Butter Pound Cake
Makes a 9′x9″ pan
Brandied Peach Ice Cream
Makes about 2 quarts
19 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large, ripe peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Peach Brandy
8 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 325°F and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” square pan.
Place the butter in a 10” skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
For ice cream:
Place the sliced peaches in a blender with the lemon juice and salt. Puree and then set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the sugar into the eggs until they are thick and pale yellow. Beat in the flour and set aside.
Bring the milk to a low simmer in a medium heavy saucepan. Slowly beat the hot milk into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until custard thickens slightly. Do not overcook or let it come to a boil as the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat and pour hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl.
Once the custard has cooled slightly, add the peach puree and heavy cream. Cover and chill until cold. I prefer to let mine sit overnight.
When ready to make the ice cream, stir the Peach Brandy into the custard mixture and place in your ice cream maker, freezing according the manufacturer’s directions. * Note – This recipe will require that you make it in two batches if you have a smaller ice cream maker.
This is best served fresh from the ice cream maker, but you can freeze it to serve later. Soften before serving.
Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.
1. Line 4 3-inch ramekins with plastic wrap, so that plastic wrap covers all the sides and hangs over the edge. Fill to the top with ice cream. Cover the top with the overhanging plastic wrap and freeze for several hours, or until solid.
2. Level the top of the brown butter pound cake with a serrated knife or with a cake leveler. Cut out 4 3-inch diameter circles from the cake. Discard the scraps or use for another purpose. (Nibbling is a good thing!)
3. Make the meringue (see above).
4. Unwrap the ice cream ramekins and invert on top of a cake round. Trim any extra cake if necessary.
5. Pipe the meringue over the ice cream and cake, or smooth it over with a spatula, so that none of the ice cream or cake is exposed. Freeze for one hour or up to a day.
6.Burn the tips of the meringue with a cooking blow torch or bake the meringue-topped Baked Alaska on a rimmed baking sheet in a 500°F oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.