Three Cheese Macaroni

Comfort Food: Lasagna

BBQ Grilled Cheese

Pork Sandwiches

It's a Baked Alaskan!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I've always wanted to visit Alaska. I guess I still can, I'm still fairly young - and my husband has been dreaming about visiting there himself. He always claims that he will go on a 2 month fishing excursion. Um... you can probably guess my thoughts on that one. If not, you don't know me very well yet - don't worry, there's time.

The August 2010 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking (I should have started blogging at that age).  Using the theme of beurre noisett, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge us, Daring Bakers, to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa's challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop".  I chose to make a Baked Alaska, but everyone's Petit Fours look so fun and cute that I may be making those in the future.  Remind me if I forget.

I attempted to do this challenge fairly quickly. We were in the middle of moving out of our current apartment and getting ready for me to head to Seattle for the American Cheese Society conference. Let's just say, we were busy-bees. I had already made lasagna to freeze for my husband to bake for our moving helpers when I'm gone - and I made him some chicken salad to make sandwiches all week. I know, I'm 24 and freaken acting like Betty Crocker at home. blah. It's ok, we'll get used to it - my husband's spoiled... and he knows it.

Many of these Daring Baker challenges have encouraged me to go out and just buy an ice cream maker. I haven't done it yet though, I did buy an Kitchenaid attachment maker for my sister's birthday. Too bad she's 1,050 miles away. Maybe that will be my birthday present to myself this year... remind me if I forget.

It makes me really nervous to say, but I kind of cheated this month. Remember the pound cake I made for the 4th of July? Well, we didn't finish it - so I froze it.  When I saw this month's challenge, I couldn't help but use that cake. I hate wasting food and love it when I can find a use for something I had made previously. So yes, I somewhat failed at this challenge in terms of making an actual brown butter pound cake. I promise I will make one though, because it sounds delicious. (I'm not kicked out am I?)

I did make the vanilla ice cream and the meringue that makes those awesome peaks. Here are the recipes for the challenge - I halved all of these to make a 2 serving Baked Alaska and still ended up with a lot of meringue. Consider cutting the meringue like, to 3/4 of the recipe.

Vanilla Ice Cream
1 c whole milk
a pinch of salt
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)
2 c heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp more vanilla extract

Heat the milk, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod.  Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. -If you are not using a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.-

Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour 1/4 cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 tsp) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker (see what I mean?). If you don't have an ice cream maker (that would be me...), you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz.

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 T unsalted butter
2 c sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/3 c granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325*F and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9x9 square pan.

Place the butter in a 10" skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are dark chocolate brown (butter and chocolate.. ugh, yum) and the butter smells nutty. -Don't take your eyes off the butter, it can burn quickly!- 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 9x9 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.

*side note, I'm on the airplane while typing this.. a hypnotist/motivational speaker is in front of me and has been talking the entire flight. He is now attempting to hypnotize the guy sitting next to him. Messed up.

(do not make until ready to pipe onto ice cream/pound cake object)

8 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar

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.

The moment you've been waiting for - ASSEMBLING THE BAKED ALASKA

1. Line four tea or coffee cups with plastic wrap, so that the 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 a cake leveler. Cut out four shapes (of your tea cup or coffee cup). Discard the scraps or use for another purpose.

3. Make the meringue.

4. Unwrap the ice cream cups and invert them on top of a cake round. Trim any extra cake if necessary. (Pretty sure I froze the cake with the ice cream in the coffee cup... it still worked!)

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. -it won't melt, I promise- Serve immediately.

And there you have it folks I challenge you to create a better Baked Alaska then me... it won't be tough, but I'd still like to see it.

*Update - the kid in front of me didn't get hypnotized, but he did get a lesson on how to do it and all the miracles it can do for people. Very interesting stuff happening here.


Renata said...

Your end result is lovely!

August 27, 2010 at 1:33 AM
Christina said...

Looks delicious! I hate wasting food so I would've done the same thing.

August 30, 2010 at 2:56 PM
Alise said...

Thanks ladies! I was worried no one would comment in spite of me cheating on the challenge.. lol!

August 31, 2010 at 9:57 AM

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