Baked Alaska with a Lighter? You Betcha!

I’ve always wanted to do a Baked Alaska, and with Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it would be the perfect time to demonstrate this show-stopping dessert. I just didn’t anticipate coming up with possibly the greatest browning meringue hack in history.

As you’ll see in the video, I made two of these, so I could show you a couple different ways to decorate. After browning the first one with a blowtorch, my preferred method, I started on the second, and for whatever reason the torch stopped working.

I was just about to turn on the oven, where you can finish these at 500°F until browned, when I had an idea. I’d just bought a windproof lighter to use when grilling in the backyard, and wondered if the tiny jet flame that shoots out from the tip would be hot enough to do the job. It was, and it did.

As far as the actual recipe itself, there’s really not a lot that can go wrong. As long as you freeze your ice cream cake thoroughly before browning the meringue, and cook your sugar syrup to 240°F, yours will look just like mine, or better.

There are obviously unlimited combinations of cake and ice cream flavors you can use for this, so I suggest consulting with your Valentine, and giving this easy Baked Alaska technique a try very soon. Enjoy!


For 2 Baked Alaska:
Note: You can make these ahead, including the piping, freeze, and then brown the meringue before serving.

1 1/2 cups raspberry ice cream
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
2 round thick slices chocolate cake

For the Italian meringue:
2 large egg whites
1 tsp lemon juice
- beat to soft peak, and slowly add 240 F. sugar syrup (see below)
- continue beating until you have stiff peaks that will hold a sharp line

For the sugar syrup:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water

FLAMBE NOTE: First of all, be careful. Pour an ounce or so of any liqueur (I used brandy but cherry liqueur or Framboise would be even better) into a pan and place on low heat. When it’s warm enough you can it ignite with a lighter, and spoon the flaming liquid over your baked Alaska. Just be sure to turn down the lights!