Cake and Ice Cream Again – Half BakedSeptember 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Cakes, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Frozen, Fruit | 43 Comments
Tags: Baked Alaska, Brown Butter Pound Cake, Daring Bakers, Ice Cream, Roasted Peach Ice Cream, Salted Macadamia Brittle Ice Cream, swiss meringue
This is the latest I’ve ever been with a Daring Bakers challenge – almost a week late. I was going to skip it when I realized I wouldn’t make it on time, but since I’d started it at the beginning of the month, and had the cake and ice cream sitting in the freezer…I decided to forge ahead and get it done. Life has a way of getting in the way, so I wasn’t able to get this post up on time.
I was going for an igloo effect with the meringue..didn’t quite make it.
The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
You see that little widget in the right hand column of my blog that says Sugar High Fridays? Well, that’s THE Sugar High Fridays that’s partnered up with Daring Bakers for this challenge. I’m pointing this out because, it was the first challenge I ever joined when I started this blog, and it’s been ages since I participated. Glad to get back into the swing, and I hope this brings more people into the SHF posse so it can prosper once again.
Now for the challenge – I decided to eighty-six the ice cream petit fours and just make some individual Baked Alaskas. Baked Alaska conjures up ’70′s’ to me - polyester suits, disco, bell bottoms, swingers etc. I was a wee thing in the 70′s, but I’ve read about the ‘mode’ of that period. Wasn’t it the ‘IN’ dessert of the 70′s? Was there a wedding, restaurant, swinging party that didn’t offer Baked Alaska in their dessert repertoire? OK, maybe the latter is pushing it, but one would need to cool off after one of those, no?
Macadamia Nuts for brittle courtesy of OhNuts.com.
What I think of when I hear Baked Alaska is the book Wifey by Judy Blume. Sounds weird, huh? Just hear me out. In the 80′s, when I was no longer hooked on phonics, I would devour several books a week. When I finished my ’age group’ books, including Judy Blume’s tweens‘ sagas, I used to sneak into my parent’s bedroom to see what books my mother had taken out from the library. Now, these were mature/adult readings, but that just made it all the more exciting for me. As you already know, one of these books was Wifey, which took place in the 70′s.
I’m not going to get into a whole synopsis of the book, but there’s a chapter where the married ‘heroine’, if you’d call her that, runs into an old boyfriend she holds a torch for at a wedding. They end up in some backroom off the kitchen, getting it on NEXT to the Baked Alaska. To this day, that’s the first thing that comes to mind when I hear Baked Alaska. Yeah, I know..a tad warped.
For my Baked Alaskas, I used David Lebovitz’s amazing vanilla bean ice cream that Elissa provided for us. I mixed in buttery brown sugar roasted peaches, pureed and chopped, in one half – and the other half of the ice cream, finely chopped homemade salted macadamia brittle. I gave it a peaches and cream theme, just a little more complicated – Roasted Peaches and Salted Macadmia Brittle Cream Baked Alaska. The luscious, buttery, sweet roasted peach ice cream surrounding a center of vanilla bean – salted macadmia ice cream. I always strive for texture contrast, and the bits of brittle gives crunch to the creamy..
The only caveat (Is there ever NOT a caveat for me?) was that I had to half the delicious brown butter pound cake cut-outs from the recipe in the challenge, horizontally. This was due to the awesome mousse rings I used for each Baked Alaska. They weren’t as tall as I originally thought, so to make room for the ice creams, it was the only choice I had. However, I did serve extra cake along with the Alaskas. Great pound cake recipe, albeit a tad dry – but I think it was the extra minute or two I added to the baking time when it didn’t look brown enough. That said, how can you go wrong with brown butter aka beurre noisette in a cake, or anything for that matter? Nutty, rich, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Brown Butter Pound Cake
19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely
Buttery Roasted Caramel Peach and Salted Macadamia Brittle – Vanilla Ice Creams (both ice creams using David Lebovitz’s vanilla bean ice cream base)
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
Buttery Roasted Caramel Peaches – eat these as is for a low calorie dessert!
4 to 6 fresh peaches, cut in half and pitted (4-6 depending on size of peaches)
1/3 cup butter, (5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) melted
1/3 cup brown or granulated sugar
Salted Macadamia Brittle
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup or a little more whole salted macadamia nuts, toasted
6 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
DIRECTIONS FOR ROASTED PEACHES:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine the melted butter and sugar. Split each peach horizontally, then roll in the butter-sugar mixture. Place cut side down on a lightly greased foil lined or non greased parchment lined baking sheet (silpat is fine too). Drizzle any leftover butter-sugar mixture over the top of the peaches.
2. Roast for 30 – 35 minutes until soft and caramelized.
3. For ice cream…Puree half the roasted peaches in a food processor, skins and all. Skin and chop the remaining roasted peaches. Set aside to cool until ready to add to ice cream base.
Note – These can be used in many dessert batters before baking, or just serve peaches with cake and/or ice cream or eat them as is! They’re sticky/gooey and amazing! I love them with Greek yogurt.
DIRECTIONS FOR SALTED MACADAMIA BRITTLE:
1. In a saucepan boil the sugar and water together to make a caramel. Test the color of the caramel on a white plate. It should be amber-brown.
2. Stir in the butter with a wooden spoon then stir in the nuts. Pour onto a silpat and let cool. Break up into chunks (for brittle, just chop or crush with the bottom of a bottle). Store in an airtight container until ready to eat or use in ice cream.
DIRECTIONS FOR VANILLA ICE CREAM BASE:
1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)
2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.
3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.
4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.
5. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/07/making_ice_crea_1.html
Lisa’s directions for peach and macadamia brittle add ins – Split the ice cream base in two. Use one half for peach ice cream, one half for salted macadamia brittle. When the base hits the soft serve stage in the ice cream maker, add in the pureed, roasted peaches. Stir in the chopped, roasted peaches when ice cream maker freezing is finished. Freeze the rest of the way in a freezer proof container. Do the same (meaning just stir in chopped brittle at soft serve stage in ice cream maker) with the other half of the vanilla ice cream base for the chopped, salted macadamia brittle – vanilla ice cream.
DIRECTIONS FOR SWISS MERINGUE:
1. Over a double boiler (prefebly using bowl you will beating whites and sugar in) over medium heat, heat egg whites and sugar, whisking constantly until sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or just use mixer bowl as mentioned above) ; mix on high speed until you get medium peaks (the whites slightly bend at tip when lifted with beater).
ASSEMBLE BAKED ALASKAS:
1. Using mousse rings, cut out 4 circles of pound cake (3-inches if using rings) and place in the bottom of each ring.
2. Scoop about 1/2 cup roasted peach ice cream over cake, then make a ell in the middle for salted macadamia brittle ice cream, pusing the peach ice cream up the sides to the top. Freeze.
3. Place a small scoop of salted macadamia brittle ice cream in the well, cover again with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.
4. Cover the top evenly with remaining peach ice cream..smooth top, cover with plastic wrap and freeze overmight.
5. Unmold each Alaska one at time, keeping the others frozen until ready to pipe on and torch meringue. Wrap a warm, wet towel for a minute or two around the mold in case you have trouble unmolding them.
6. Pipe each Baked Alaska decoratively with swiss meringue, or just frost, lifting upwards to get peaks – making sure they’re completely covered. Place in a preheated oven for minutes until peaks are golden brown, or brown with a kitchen torch. Serve immediately.