Christmas Baked Alaska...

December is the time for everything festive, warmth, mulled wine and - er - ice-cream, right? Well, ok, maybe ice-cream isn't the first thing that springs to mind unless you live in the Southern hemisphere. However, with Christmas fast approaching, and considering that I'm not exactly a fan of Christmas pudding, I wanted to come up with a super-festive alternative. Something that would taste of Christmas, have the wow factor and just be different from a traditional Christmas pudding, but I wasn't completely sure what until...

...fate took over - ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but you know what I mean - and I received a Cuisinart ice-cream maker. I had long wondered what it would be like to have a machine to do all the churning for me and to give me a smooth ice-cream without all those annoying little crystals that form when I'm making it by hand. So far, however, I had always resisted buying one of these machines as I wasn't sure I could justify it. I mean, unless I eat ice-cream every week (which I don't), how much use exactly would I get out of it? Well, now that I've tried it, I can't believe I hadn't invested in one earlier! I think I will get a lot of use out of it, starting with this Christmas baked Alaska.

This baked Alaska has the Christmas flavours, boozy dried fruit and chocolate. The base is a heavy, brownie-style chocolate-orange cake which is topped with the spiced ice-cream containing rum-soaked, dried fruits like raisins, oranges and lemons. I've topped it all with an Italian meringue which doesn't need baking and which in turn makes it just a little less risky for your big day. Anyway, enough of the lengthy introduction, here's my recipe. I hope you like it.

Christmas Baked Alaska

You should start the preparations of this two days before you're planning to serve it. It takes a bit of work but will be worth it for the wow factor and of course taste.

  • Serves 8-10,
  • Time: around 1 hour of work, at least 8 hours to soak the fruit, at least 8 hours for chilling and freezing.
  • Oven Temperature: 175 C
  • Calories: don't even ask...

You will also need the following equipment:

  • a food processor or mixer
  • an ice-cream maker
  • round, 20cm loose based cake tin
  • 1.2 liter pudding bowl
  • a food thermometer
  • a kitchen blow torch

Christmas Baked Alaska

List of ingredients:

For the ice-cream:

  • 200g dried mixed fruit (oranges, sultanas etc.)
  • 5 tbsp rum
  • 600ml double cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

For the cake base:

  • 180g butter (at room temperature)
  • 170g good quality dark chocolate
  • 300g flour
  • 110g plain flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • ½ tsp salt

For the Italian meringue:

  • 110g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 pinch of salt

Christmas Baked Alaska

Starting with the ice-cream:

  • The day before you start with the ice-cream itself, put the mixed fruit into shallow bowl, add the rum, cover with cling film and leave to soak over night.
  • The next day, drain the rum and put the fruit aside.
  • To make the ice-cream, start by putting the cream into a saucepan and add the spices.
  • Bring to a boil whilst stirring, then take off the heat.
  • Mix the sugar and egg yolks, beating until they’re thick, pale and doubled in size.
  • Whilst continuing to beat the mix, gradually add the hot cream and mix until combined.
  • Now return the mix to a clean pan and warm over a low heat whilst continuously stirring.
  • Keep heating the mix until it’s thick and coating the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Pour the spiced custard into a bowl and lay cling film on top of it to prevent a skin from forming.
  • Chill for 2 hours.
  • Line the 1.2 l pudding bowl with cling film.
  • Next, pour the mixture into the ice-cream maker and churn for 20 minutes.
  • Add the drained, dried fruit and churn for another 5 minutes.
  • Pour the ice-cream into the prepared pudding bowl and put into the freezer for 5 hours.
Christmas Baked Alaska

Next for the cake base:

  • Preheat your oven to 175 C
  • Grease your baking tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder together.
  • Now put the butter and chocolate chunks into a heatproof bowl.
  • Place the bowl on top of a pan with hot water.
  • Stir the chocolate and butter until melted and smoothly combined.
  • Leave to cool down a little.
  • Whisk the eggs, sugar and orange extract until smooth and combined.
  • Now, whilst continuously whisking, slowly pour the cooled chocolate into the egg mix.
  • Next add the flour and mix until well combined.
  • Pour the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour.
  • After one hour take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool down inside the tin.
  • Once cooled, take the cake out of the tin and place onto a plate.
  • Turn out the ice-cream onto the cake and, using a sharp knife, cut around the ice-cream dome to trim the cake to the same size.
  • Return both together into the freezer.
Christmas Baked Alaska

For the meringue:

  • Place the sugar and water into a pan, stir together, and heat over a medium heat.
  • Brush any sugar that’s sticking to the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush back into the pan. This will prevent sugars from forming crystals and turning the syrup grainy.
  • Whisk the egg whites with the salt until they form soft peaks.
  • Now turn up the heat and bring the syrup to 120C (check with your food thermometer).
  • Start whisking the eggs again and, in a thin and steady stream, slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the eggs. The syrup is cooled down just a little by pouring it down the side of the bowl which will prevent the eggs from ‘cooking’ too quickly.
  • Now keep mixing the meringue for another 10 minutes until glossy.
  • Leave the meringue to cool completely.
Christmas Baked Alaska

For the finishing touches:

  • Take the ice-cream out from the freezer and cover in the meringue all around.
  • Don’t worry about being too exact or tidy here.
  • Using the blow torch, brown the “sticky out” bits of the meringue.
  • Return the whole Alaska to the freezer until 20 minutes before serving.
  • Add some sparklers, light them and serve.
Christmas Baked Alaska

Until next time, why not stay in touch on InstagramTwitter and Facebook… xo

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, however, ideas, styling, photos etc. are mine.