Boysenberry, Lemon & Ginger Baked Alaska
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: Serves 10
For the ice cream:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Peel of two large lemons, removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 - 1-1/2 tablespoons minced ginger (I finely grated a large piece of ginger)
  • 3-1/2 cups (approx. 18oz 500g) boysenberries (about 18 ounces), fresh or frozen
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 6 egg yolks
For the sponge:
  • 1/2 cup cake flour, plus more for pan (I used gluten-free flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Optional: Some liqueur or syrup to brush over the cake (I brushed over some ginger syrup)
For the Italian meringue:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 large egg whites (or 5 smaller ones), at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the ice cream: (Make this at least a couple of days ahead)
  1. In a heavy saucepan, bring cream and milk to a simmer. Take off the heat and stir in lemon peels and ginger, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for 1 hour.
  2. Purée boysenberries in a blender or food processor (if frozen, thaw first). Pour the purée through a strainer. Measure out 1-1/2 cups strained juice and discard boysenberry pulp. In a heavy saucepan, bring strained boysenberry juice to a simmer on medium heat and reduce to about 1/2 -2/3rds cup (or until syrupy), stirring frequently. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt until dissolved. Transfer to a small container and chill in refrigerator.
  3. In a clean, heavy saucepan, whisk together 3/4 cups sugar with egg yolks until pale in color and thickened. When the milk/cream mixture finishes steeping, pour through a strainer into a jug (to remove the peel and ginger) and add a little into the yolk/sugar mixture as you whisk, to temper the eggs. Add the remaining milk/cream, continuing to whisk as you go.
  4. Put saucepan on medium-low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until a custard forms on the back of a spoon, but a finger swiped across the back leaves a clean line (you're aiming for 170°F if using a thermometer). Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour through a stainer into an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next day, churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. While ice cream is churning, remove blackberry syrup from the fridge (it'll be very thick, so stir to loosen).
  6. Transfer 1/3 of finished ice cream into a rounded mould (I used a hemisphere pan) or bowl where the circumference at the widest end is about the same size as the circumference of the cake tin in which the sponge will be baked, then quickly spread on half of syrup (it doesn't need to be neat). Repeat, and top off with last 1/3 of ice cream NB: I actually created three fruit syrup layers rather than two.
  7. Put a layer of plastic wrap over top of the ice cream lightly and cover the whole pan with a couple of layers of foil. Chill in freezer until firm, at least over night.
For the cake: (Make on the day, or if making ahead see notes)
  1. Heat oven to 160°C (325°F). Grease and flour an 20 cm (8 inch) round cake pan (the pan can be slightly bigger or smaller to match up with the circumference of your ice cream mould - but you can always go with a bigger sized cake tin and then trim the sponge to fit) and line base with baking paper; set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl; set aside.
  3. Beat sugar and eggs in a bowl on medium-high speed of a hand mixer until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Stir in juice and zest; fold in flour mixture.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  5. Optional: While cake is still hot, brush over favourite liqueur or syrup. Cool completely, invert onto a rack, and set aside.
For the Italian meringue: (Make on the day, within a couple of hours of serving)
  1. Firstly, ensure the bowl you will be beating your egg whites in is scrupulously clean (I wipe the sides down with some vinegar). Check your beaters are also completely clean.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat over high heat, brushing down sides of pot as necessary with a pastry brush dipped in water (this ensures the sugar doesn't crystalize). Cook until sugar syrup registers 115°C (240°F) on a thermometer.
  3. Once the syrup starts to boil, combine egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Set mixer to medium speed and mix until soft peaks form (when lifted, the head of the mixer should form gentle peaks in the egg whites that very slowly collapse back into themselves). At this point your sugar syrup should be close to the required temperature.
  4. With the mixer running, carefully and slowly drizzle in the hot sugar syrup - aim for the side of the bowl rather than the middle so as not to deflate the egg whites. Once it's all in, increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks. Move on to assembly straight away.
To assemble:
  1. If baking, pre-heat oven to 220°C (425°F). Otherwise, you can simply use a kitchen torch, as I did - an Italian meringue is already cooked, so baking is not actually required.
  2. If baking, place sponge on a baking paper-lined baking sheet; if not baking, place on a serving platter.
  3. Unwrap and invert ice cream onto sponge and peel off remaining plastic wrap.
  4. Quickly, cover ice cream and cake with meringue (make sure you cover every bit including the sponge, as the meringue acts as an insulator), using your spatula to create swirls.
  5. If baking, place in hot oven and bake until meringue begins to brown, about 5-8 minutes (or just until you get a nice even browning). If using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the raised swirls.
  6. If you've baked the dessert, transfer it to a serving platter. Serve immediately. NB: If not serving straight away, you can store the whole Baked Alaska in the freezer - Italian meringue is very stable and the whole dessert will easily store, uncovered, in the freezer for at least 24 hours. If serving straight from the freezer, let the dessert stand for 10-15 minutes before serving for the ice cream and sponge to soften a little - don't worry, the ice cream is fully insulated by the meringue and takes quite a while to start melting.
This recipe assumes you will make the ice cream at least a couple of days ahead, and the sponge and meringue on the day of serving. However, you can make the sponge ahead as well. If you do, layer the cooled sponge over the base of the frozen ice cream (which is in the shaped mould) and cover with plastic wrap and foil before returning to the freezer.
Recipe by The Kiwi Cook at