Baked Alaska a la Pauline

Baked Alaska (also known as glace au four, omelette à la norvégienne, Norwegian omelette and omelette surprise) is a dessert made of ice cream placed in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas pudding and topped with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven for just long enough to firm the meringue. The meringue is an effective insulator, and the short cooking time prevents the heat from getting through to the ice cream.

Mini Baked Alaska
Makes 6 portions


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 to 4 bunches of basil, leaves only
  • 2 ½ cups strawberry puree, chilled
  • Purchased sponge or pound cake, cut in 6 rounds, ½ inch thick, 3 inches wide
  • ½ cup simple syrup
  • ¾ cup egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  1. In a pan bring milk with vanilla bean to boil. Steep 15 minutes. Remove bean; scrape seeds into milk.

  2. Whip yolks with ½ cup of sugar; stir into milk. In pan, stir on low heat until custard coats spoon. Add cream, chill.

  3. Immerse basil in boiling water; drain. Immerse in ice water; drain. Puree with half the custard; chill. Add berry puree to remaining custard.

  4. Freeze custards separately in an ice cream maker. Spread basil cream ½ inch thick on a 9 by 13 inch pan; freeze. Cut into 6 rounds 3 inches wide; freeze.

  5. Brush cake with syrup. Set a basil cream round on each cake. Top each with a berry cream scoop; freeze.

  6. Whip whites until foamy. Whip stiff, slowly adding ½ cup sugar, making meringue. Spread a ¼ inch meringue over each dessert; freeze at once.

  7. In a 400º oven, bake Alaskas until meringue forms a crust; about 5 minutes.
To serve: Use a kitchen blowtorch in sweeping motions to lightly brown meringues; put baked Alaskas on individual plates.

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