Winter Baked Alaska with Panettone & Mincemeat
Winter Baked Alaskas are an impressively showy dessert bound to delight any guest who is sitting at your table. Panettone and mincemeat add welcome fruit and spice to this classic dessert.
Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time55 mins
For the Base & Ice Cream
- 140 g/ 5 oz Panettone
- 8 tsp Mincemeat
- 500 ml/ 16 fl oz Vanilla ice cream (not soft serve)
For the Swiss Meringue
- 4 (160g) Egg whites (large)
- 250 g/ 1 1/4 cup White Sugar
Equipment Needed - blow torch
** Please read the instructions in full before attempting this recipe **
Prepare the Base Layers
Choose your ramekins (7-8cm diameter) if making individual desserts or a larger tin (a 6 inch round cake tin would be ideal). Line with a piece of clingfilm - it needs to be large enough to cover the base and sides of the ramekin/ tin and also cover the contents on the ramekin/ tin
Put the panettone into a food processor and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs
Add the mincemeat and pulse again until the large pieces of fruit are broken down and the mixture sticks together when gently squeezed in your hand (add another spoon of mincemeat if it does not stick together at this point - some mincemeats are more fluid than others)
Divide the mixture between the ramekins and press down firmly using the back of a teaspoon
Allow the ice cream to soften slightly, then divide between the ramekins, pressing it firmly into the dish to ensure it is well packed
Cover the ice cream with the over-hanging clingfilm and place in the freezer for 4 hours (or overnight) to firm up
Make the Swiss Meringue
Put the egg whites and sugar into a spotlessly clean heatproof bowl and beat gently with a handheld whisk
Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (this is a double boiler). Ensure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water
Heat the egg whites, gently whisking continuously, until the mix reaches a temperature of 71C/ 160F on a food thermometer
Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip (using high speed). First, the mixture will cool, turning white & foamy. Continue to whip until the mixture reaches the stiff peak stage. By this time it will be thick & glossy
Spoon the meringue into a large piping back fitted with a large closed star/ flower nozzle (I used a Jem 2D)
Assembling the Baked Alaska
Work quickly when assembling the Baked Alaska to ensure that they all reach the table with the ice cream still set
When ready to serve, remove the ramekins from the freezer and remove the clingfilm. Place the desserts onto a heatproof surface - well spaced out (or better still put them onto heatproof serving plates)
Pipe a layer of meringue around the side of each dessert - lines work well around the edge. Pipe the meringue onto the top in a pattern of your liking (I used rosettes). Fill in any small gaps to ensure the base and ice cream are completely covered
It should take no more than 5 minutes in total to cover all 4 desserts. Put aside any leftover meringue - it can be baked later (see notes)
Light your blowtorch and hold it close to the meringue on the first dessert. Keep the blowtorch moving all around the meringue until it has toasted. Repeat for all of the desserts. It will take approx 15-30 seconds to toast each one
Carefully transfer each Baked Alaska to a serving plate (if not already on one), using a palette knife dipped in hot water to help you slide and push it onto the plate. Keep a cocktail stick handy too and, if necessary, use the tip to help push the dessert off the knife and onto the plate without damaging the meringue (wipe the palate knife if it gets sticky)
If making the large Baked Alaska, place on a heatproof plate (or surface) and pipe the meringue all over it. Use the blowtorch to toast the meringue as before. Depending on your speed, it may be necessary for the dessert to sit for 5 minutes before slicing to ensure the ice cream and base have relaxed sufficiently (keep an eye on the time and serve once it has been out of the freezer for 10 minutes)
This recipe makes 4 substantial desserts when molded in pots approx 8cm diameter & 4cm deep. If your pots are smaller, then you could easily stretch the base to fill 5 pots (adjust ice cream as necessary).
Alternatively, make one large dessert and serve 5-6 people from it in slices. I recommend using a 6 inch round cake tin. Line the bottom and sides with clingfilm, then press the base firmly into the bottom and pile the ice cream on top, shaping it into a dome. Wrap in the clingfilm and freeze until firm. Unmold from the tin & clingfilm and proceed to cover with meringue & scorch it with a blowtorch.
If you do not own a blowtorch, these Baked Alaska can be cooked in a very hot oven 250C/ 500F/ GM9. Cook individual desserts for around 3 minutes and the larger dessert for 5 minutes. Please note that when cooked in the oven the ice cream will be softer and the meringue will not keep it's shaping as well as it does when toasted with a blowtorch.
I have deliberately been generous with the meringue - it is far better to have too much in this recipe than to run out. There should be plenty to cover the Baked Alaska and some spare. Pipe the leftovers onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and cook at 120C/ 230F/ GM 1/2 for 40 minutes. Allow to cool in the oven. This can be done once the Baked Alaska has been served and eaten.