Friday 10 May 2013

Baked Alaska with Italian chocolate gelato for Mom!

A Three generation picture , my Mom, my daughter and me. This was taken on Holly's wedding day, over 4 years ago. Now my beautiful daughter is expecting and we will welcome Madison in the next few months! A fourth generation about to be born!! Happy Mother's Day!
With Mother's Day coming up on Sunday, it got me to thinking even more about my Mom and how grateful I am to her for giving me a love of sewing and cooking. My mother is an exceptional seamstress and home chef and I grew up in a home of several sewing machines, ranging from the fancy to the antique and with lot's of family functions with food ranging from a family barbeque to a multiple course sit down dinner for 40-75. I grew up loving large family/friends gathering's and to this day, love to have large parties! I just love life and I have my Mother to thank for that!

When I think about all the patience my mother practiced when teaching me to sew, I can get a bit emotional. Now at this point in my life and really in the last 20 years, I can really appreciate what it took for her to sit down with a determined, but impatient teenager and show me how make a facing for my first hip hugger skirt, that I simply had to make in white denim. And how at almost midnight, when I was nearly in tears because I really wanted to wear that skirt the next day, she sagely advised me, "If your sewing is starting to make you cry, it's time to stop sewing." 

That's the kind of advice that's useful in a wide variety of circumstances! Sewing has bonded us our whole lives, and it is just between the two of us.  I, following in my Mother's foot steps tried to teach my children to sew and cook. The sewing gene did not get passed along unfortunately.  But, My daughter and my son both cook/barbeque/bake and are amazing! Plus, their spouses are equally amazing! They appreciate all the quilting and sewing projects that I give them  and I am hopeful that one day they will take up quilting, when they slow down!!

 Sewing and cooking has given me limitless hours of pleasure, and I doubt I would have ever stitched a stitch, let alone the hundred's, if not thousands garments and quilts I've made since that hip hugger skirt, if not for her patient tutelage.

My Mother loves dessert, I come by my Sweet Tooth honestly! Her favorite is Creme Brulee and I often make it for her. However, when I was in high school, I used to make her and my family, "Baked Alaska". I was fascinated that you  could put ice cream in the oven and it doesn't melt. I knew the trick was sealing the meringue tightly to the cake.  Baked Alaska is a masterpiece of chemistry: an ice cream cake topped with meringue and baked in the oven until the meringue browns. (Yes, frozen ice cream is baked in an oven!)

 The concept (and execution) is simple. Ice cream is mounded on a slice of angel food cake, pound cake or on a cookie; this is then covered completely with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in a 450-500 F oven just long enough to firm the meringue—three or four minutes. The meringue is an effective insulator, and in the short cooking time needed to finish the dessert, it prevents the frozen ice cream from melting in the hot oven.


Baked Alaska

For the gelato:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (can use semi sweet or milk)
1/2 c. Dutch process cocoa powder
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

Make a basic sugar cookie as in Sugar cookie  blog

For the meringue:
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
4 egg whites
½ cup sugar

 For gelato: Put the chocolate and cocoa in a food processor. Bring 2 cups of water and the sugar to a simmer in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot sugar syrup into the food processor, cover and pulse 4 or 5 times, until the mixture is smooth but not foamy. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and the salt; pulse once more to combine. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours. 

Whisk the chocolate mixture, then transfer to an gelato maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.

For the meringue: Heat oven to 450°. Place cream of tartar and egg whites in a large bowl; beat on medium speed of a hand mixer until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Add sugar, and beat until stiff but not dry peaks form, about 2 minutes.

 To serve: place cookie on a silpat/parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Put a rounded scoop of gelato onto the sugar cookie. Cover gelato and cookie with meringue. Bake until meringue begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Using 2 metal spatulas, transfer to a cake plate and serve immediately. 

Another great idea for afternoon tea with Mom is Lemon Madeleine's  

or Lemon Drizzle Cake!

Wishing all the Mother's, Mom's or Mama's a very Happy Mother's Day!!




  1. Thanks for this, I need a gelato recipe with no dairy. Jill

    1. You are welcome!! Enjoy!! Yes, I like the lower calories without compromising it's creaminess!

  2. I have never had a baked alaska and this sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday.

    1. I made it a lot when I was young, then forgot about it!! It is really fun for the kids too! Cheers! JJ

  3. I made this today for my family, they loved it! Thanks! Kevin


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