UPDATED – Baked Alaska – An elegant dessert for a celebration

New Year’s eve is coming soon and to celebrate the day, I thought it would be fun to make something special like Baked Alaska. This is a family favorite that I have been eating since childhood and making for almost 30 years.

Who invented Baked Alaska?

Alaska was purchased in 1867 from Russia for $7.2 million (a little over $100 million in 2016 dollars).  To celebrate the acquisition of the new territory, Chef Charles Ranhofer at Delmonico’s steakhouse in New York City created this dessert.  (March 30 1867)

When did I first eat this amazing dessert?

One of my first memories of eating Baked Alaska was at summer camp when I must have been about 10 years old.   I still vividly remember the waitresses (counselors) parading through the mess hall with Baked Alaska for all of us to celebrate some special occasion I can no longer recall. What an introduction to this wonderful dessert!

My mother started a new tradition of making Baked Alaska at home as a special birthday treat soon after I regaled her with tales of what had happened at camp.   This was certainly a tradition I endorsed.  Back then she made it with regular meringue with unpasteurized eggs, not the Italian meringue I now use in my recipe.  We didn’t worry as much about food safety in those days.   I guess we didn’t know as much about the potential perils of eating raw unpasteurized eggs as we do today.

Start a day or two in advance so the cake and ice cream are fully frozen

To make this dish you need to start a day in advance (or more), and before you start make sure you have adequate space in your freezer for the individual desserts.  Be forewarned, once you make this one time for your friends or family, they’ll never let you off the hook again.  In fact, you’ll probably find yourself making it over and over again for birthdays, holidays and the occasional family treat.

Do I personally eat Baked Alaska?

In case you are wondering, yes, I eat Baked Alaska on special occasions, despite being a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).   Some things in life are just too good to miss…savor every moment and I hope you always enjoy good food, good health, and good friends.

 

Happy New Year!!

Have a wonderful 2020!!

 

Print Recipe
Baked Alaska - An elegant dessert for a celebration
A festive dessert for nearly any celebration. To cut down on the preparation time, use slices from a commercially prepared pound cake.
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Course Dessert, Holidays
Cuisine American
Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 15 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cake Bases
Italian Meringue
Course Dessert, Holidays
Cuisine American
Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 15 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cake Bases
Italian Meringue
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
prepare cake bases
  1. check your freezer to make sure you have enough space for three trays (4 to a tray) desserts.
  2. cut 6 parchment paper squares approximately 6" x 6"
  3. In the meantime, sift the cake flour and set it aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. When soft peaks begin to form, slowly add 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add 1/4 of the beaten egg whites to the yolk and stir gently. Carefully fold the remaining egg whites, flour and salt into the yolks. Do not over mix.
  6. Place batter in parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes until done.
  7. Set cake aside to cool. While the cake is cooling, cut a new parchment sheet into twelve 4″ squares.
  8. When the cake is completely cool, cut into 2 3/4″ rounds. Place one cake round on each parchment square.
  9. Working quickly, place one scoop of ice cream (approximately 1.5 oz. size scoop) in the center of each cake round. I often use coffee flavor, but you can use any flavor you prefer.
  10. Place tray of cake bases with ice cream in freezer for several hours to re-freeze the ice cream.
Italian Meringue
  1. Place sugar, corn syrup and water in a small pot on the stove and heat until boiling.
  2. Continue to heat. When temperature of the sugar syrup gets close to 220 degrees F (use the candy thermometer) begin beating egg whites in mixer until soft peaks are formed.
  3. Slowly add 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar and continue to beat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  4. When temperature of sugar syrup reaches approximately 240 degrees F, pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites while the mixer is on high.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Information (per serving): 189 calories; 17 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 107 mg cholesterol; 173 mg sodium; 67 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 10 grams protein (values are approximate).

Individual Cheesecakes for Dessert

Cheesecake is a favorite dessert for many people that is often served this time of year. It is traditionally made with full fat regular cream cheese, whole eggs, sugar and sometimes even heavy cream.  It is delicious – however, it is not very compatible with a healthy eating program, at least when it is made in the traditional manner. As a result, it should generally be reserved for special occasions and eaten in small amounts.

cheesecake Cheesecake is a favorite dessert for many people. It is traditionally made with full fat regular cream cheese, whole eggs, sugar and sometimes even heavy cream.  It is delicious. However, it is not very compatible with a healthy eating program, at least when made in the traditional manner. As a result, you should reserve it for special occasions and eat it in small amounts.

A Lighter Heathier Cheesecake

I’ve adapted this recipe in an effort to provide a somewhat lighter, somewhat healthier, version of this treat. I’ve substituted reduced fat cream cheese for the regular cream cheese. I also replaced one of the eggs with egg whites and used nonfat Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream.  I also used nonfat sweetened condensed milk which does add sweetness from the sugar but saves on the fat.  The crust is graham cracker crumbs and olive oil – the topping a simple raspberry compote made from frozen raspberries, a little sugar, water and some lemon juice.

Inspired by The Hotel Portillo in Chile

chile

The inspiration for this recipe came from the chef at the Hotel Portillo in Portillo, Chile who makes cheesecake with full fat cream cheese, regular condensed milk, sugar in the graham cracker crust and no yogurt.

A Great Dessert for a Weeknight or Get Together

Because I have adapted the ingredients in this recipe to create a somewhat healthier version of this cheesecake, this dish is a good option to serve once in a while as a weeknight dessert for your family after a home cooked meal.

Print Recipe
Happy Holidays! Individual Cheesecakes for Dessert
Individual Cheesecake
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20-30 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
cheesecakes
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20-30 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
cheesecakes
Ingredients
Individual Cheesecake
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Recipe Notes

Approximate nutrition information per serving (without topping): 400 calories; 18 grams fat; 4.6 grams saturated fat; 0 grams transfat; 36 mg cholesterol; 310 mg sodium; 50 grams carbohydrate; 0.7 grams dietary fiber; 9 grams protein.