August Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Baked Alaska

What a month this has been! I finally moved into my amazing new apartment and at long last, all the roommates are together. There are four of us in a great two bedroom in the most perfect location in all of New York. It’s easy to get to work and I’m anticipating that it will be easy to get to classes once they start next week. I can’t believe that school starts in just a little over a week. In some ways, this summer has flown by, but at the same time it seems like ages ago that we were moving out of our dorm last May.

With all the moving, IKEA trips (which there were many), setting up of furniture, beating the heat and the rain, there has been little time for baking. Our kitchen hasn’t been completely set up until just the other day as we were missing a lot of kitchen gear that our final roommate was bringing down with her. I love our stove – it’s a brand new gas stove. At the same time, that means we have a gas oven, which I am not the greatest fan of, but it seems to work better than other gas ones I have worked with. So, as we finally put the finishing touches on the kitchen the other day, with the addition of a garbage can, microwave, and a few more pots and pans, I realized it was time for this months challenge!

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 Alasa or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I decided to go with the Baked Alaska because the prospect of glazing a bunch of teeny petit fours seemed like too much of a hassle. That being said, the Baked Alaska wasn’t a walk in the park either. I started the process at the begining of the week, making the pound cake and the ice cream. I strayed away from the originial recipe and made a mint ice cream, as I had just found some peppermint extract in my basket of spices and baking items. Having made ice cream for last months challenge, I was prepared for the task of making ice cream with out an ice cream maker, but this was much more complicated. The addition of the eggs meant you had to heat and cool the milk and cream more often and the eggs gave the ice cream a much more custardy flavor. I added some green food coloring so no one would forget it was mint.

The task of browning the meringue without a blowtorch was daunting because I was certain that my ice cream would melt in the broiler. But, WE ACTUALLY HAVE A BLOWTORCH! One of my roommates had one in a creme brulee set and we went and bought some butane fuel, and voila, we had a funtioning blowtorch. Now that I know we have one, I’m going to try to use it for everything that I make 😉

Overall, this was a fun challenge. The pound cake was probably my favorite part – I love burnt butter. The moral of the last two challenges is that I think I really need a an ice cream maker because making it without is much harder and it never turns out quite as good as it would with a machine.