Great British Bake Off: Baked Alaska

Episode 4: Dessert

Recipe (Showstopper Challenge): Baked Alaska

Ok, so going into this challenge, I knew I had it in the bag. I mean – I made a Baked Alaska last year! I’m an ice cream pro! But the question was how would I take it to the next level? Last year, I made a Baked Alaska with specific flavors as requested by the birthday girl. This time around, it was all up to me. In watching the episode, I wasn’t particularly inspired by the competitors’ creations. Not that they weren’t great, but there wasn’t one that I wanted to recreate. Would I do something very traditional? Would I do something complex?

While doing this episode’s challenges, I traveled to New York and Philadelphia. Two amazing food cities! I was not disappointed and when I came back, I was armed with inspiration.

There was one restaurant in Philadelphia that was highly recommended – Zahav. It’s an Israeli restaurant and I was not disappointed. I would probably say that it was one of the top 3 meals of the trip. The entire meal from start to finish was excellent and I was bowled over by the flavors of the dishes presented to me. Tip to any Zahav visitors: get the tasting menu! SO worth it!! At the end of the meal, I was asked to choose a dessert. I went with the pineapple sorbet, served with blueberry compote, coconut cream and coconut chips. Although I had spent the entire trip scoffing down ice cream, this simple sorbet really hit home with me. The simplicity of it, combined with the creaminess of the coconut cream, crunch of the coconut chips and tangy sweetness of the blueberries was an winner of a combination. To me, the thoughtfulness and creativity demonstrated in bringing all these elements together really spoke to me and showed me the quality of plate construction of the chef.

Zahav Sorbet
When I came home, I knew that this dessert would be the inspiration to my Baked Alaska. The sorbet would be the ice cream, I would make a coconut crunch layer, a blueberry element and then the meringue would be the creamy component. It was off to the races to start building the components – up first, the sorbet! I juiced a whole fresh pineapple, made a simple syrup and added 1/4 cup of lime juice for the sorbet. It works out to be about 2 cups of juice + 1.5 cups syrup. The final result was very light and smooth – not sure if I aerated it too much. I used a bag of vanilla cake scraps to build the “shell” of the dessert. I finally got to use the 8″ and 6″ round cake domes I purchased in NY last year! So the 8″ cake dome was lined with saran wrap, then lined with booze-soaked cake (brandy). I made a very quick blueberry compote (just the fruit, no sugar) that went inside the cake-lined dome and then carefully slid the 6″ dome of sorbet on that, pressing gently to get the compote all the way around.

IMG_3145

 

8″ dome and brandy-soaked cake.

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Dome lined with cake.

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Compote on the cake and the sorbet round (unmolded from the 6″ dome) ready to be placed.

I made a coconut shortbread cake base – which in retrospect is a little tough to cut when frozen but was nice and crunch (and coconut-y!). I made a standard boiled meringue frosting and torched that baby!

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Unmolded finished product on the shortbread base.

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Meringue-d and ready to be torched!

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So on the inside you see…

BakedAlaskaCross

And for each slice…

BakedAlaskaSlice

 

Overall: 8.5/10 (Hey, there is still room for improvement!)

Up next….pies!

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Tags: , ,

Categories: baked alaska, Great British Bake Off, sorbet

Author:bainvancouver

Communications specialist by day, baker/cook/triathlete/dog-owner by night. I blog about my adventures inside and outside my kitchen. Come take a look - no big whoop!

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