Baked Alaska

  • Makes12 to 12 servings

When I was a kid this was the ultimate fancy dessert. A combination of ice cream and meringue, baked in the oven. Impossible! Who could do such a thing? Well, anyone, actually.


  • 1 1/2 quarts ice cream, (any flavour or combination of flavours)


  • First you'll need to make the ice cream dome. Find a rounded bowl, less than 8 in. (20 cm) wide at the top, with a 6 cup (1.5 L) capacity. Line the bowl with plastic wrap, leaving some excess hanging over the sides. Hand your child a large spoon, and have him scoop ice cream into the bowl, packing it down firmly to eliminate air pockets-sort of like what he does at the beach with damp sand and a plastic pail. Try to encourage him to work quickly (ha!) so that the ice cream stays, at least, semi-frozen. No making soup out of it! When the bowl is full, smooth the top and place into the freezer until very firm - several hours or overnight.

  • Meanwhile make the brownie base. In a medium bowl, stir together the cocoa and baking soda. Blend in about half of the vegetable oil. Pour in the boiling water and stir until the mixture thickens. Add the sugar, egg and remaining oil and stir until smooth. Measure in the flour and vanilla and blend completely. Pour batter into a well-greased 8 in. (20 cm) round cake pan and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely and remove from the pan.

  • When you're ready to assemble your Baked Alaska, preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C). In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy, then gradually add the sugar and keep beating until stiff peaks form.

  • Now here's the really cool part. Place the brownie layer on a cookie sheet. Remove the ice cream from the bowl by inverting it onto the brownie, lift off the bowl, and peel off the plastic. So far, so good. Working as quickly as you can, swirl the meringue thickly over everything, making sure it completely covers all exposed areas of the ice cream and the cake.

  • Fast, now -slide the cookie sheet onto the lowest rack of the oven and bake at 500°F (260°C) for 3 to 4 minutes, or until meringue is lightly browned. Do not leave the kitchen. Do not go answer the door. Do not do anything. I suggest you enlist your child to stand watch over the oven (through the closed oven door!) just in case.

  • Remove from the oven, slide onto a serving plate, and serve immediately to your adoring fans. Be prepared to become famous.