Friday, February 1, 2013

Alaskan Adventure

 Remember how earlier in the week I was a little apprehensive about the whole croissant thing?  That same sinking feeling has been lingering since then every time I've looked ahead to today's celebratory food - Baked Alaska.  Never had it.  Never made it.  Don't think I've actually even ever seen it in person.  Plus the idea of putting ice cream in the oven under the broiler with only meringue I've created for the first time ever is enough to almost make me want to break out in hives.  But having no clue where I'd even find Baked Alaska if I wanted to throw the towel in and get it pre-made I decided the absolute worst thing that could happen was I'd have a pile of melted ice cream and meringue in my oven.  No worries.

So this morning we started the adventure on the right foot.  Figuring I'd be better off making a small version of the Alaskan mountain I improvised and made a mini chocolate cake.  Plain old chocolate cake didn't seem to be quite enough, though, so I mixed in some Andes mint pieces and created an absolutely fabulous smelling mint chocolate cake.  I am not kidding that my stomach growled as the thing baked.  I ran to school to pick up Noah who said "Mom, it smells AWESOME in here!" as soon as he walked in the house.  Cake layer, check.

My research indicated that my best chance for success on the ice cream level was to make sure it was frozen solid.  So I cut it down to size this afternoon (just a little smaller than the cake level) and stuck it in the ice maker.  Ice cream layer, check.

I had perused quite a few recipes for meringue.  I am familiar with it (it made me think of G-Ma Koz and her lemon pie as I whipped it up) but have honestly never tried my hand at it before.  I read about countless horror stories (weeping meringue is apparently a common problem) and some successes until I finally settled on a recipe.  It worked like a charm.  It was a multiple-step meringue that you actually added a liquid version of corn starch, water and sugar to after you'd beaten the egg whites to soft peaks.  Then you whipped until stiff peaks.  (Which of course I had to show to my family when I had created them!) If you like meringue, if you are in need of a recipe or you want to try your own Baked Alaska, let me know and I will definitely forward you the meringue recipe - it was aweome.  Meringue, check.

So I stacked my cake and ice cream, layered on a huge covering of meringue, held my breath and said a quick prayer and stuck it under the broiler.  I opened the door two minutes later and wondered what all my fuss had been about - it was beautiful!  Who cared if it tasted good it LOOKED amazing.  Okay, so I did actually care if it tasted good but I needed a moment to bask in my success so far.  Then I remembered that there was still ice cream inside of my masterpiece and I better serve it up.

Grant dove in and actually moaned a bit.  He thought the whole thing was fabulous.  Noah was a bit apprehensive.  He asked if he could only have a small piece.  I told him he could just eat what he wanted of it that I really just wanted him to try it.

The child devoured the whole huge piece I had cut him.  He was actually picking it up with both hands and shoveling it in.  At that very moment I think I glowed a little bit.  Sometimes my favorite taste testers can pass off a version of a "yes, we like it" that makes me wonder.  There was no questioning how much Noah enjoyed his Baked Alaska.  It totally made it worth my nerves about how the whole thing might go down.  (Side Note - Kayla has had a really rough day after her vaccination yesterday.  After a (I do not exaggerate on this one) two hour temper tantrum this morning I wasn't seeing much hope for the day improving.  I was correct in the assessment as she flat refused to eat any of dinner so she didn't get to partake in Baked Alaska day.  We're hoping for a MUCH better day tomorrow and relief for me from the migraine she helped create earlier...)

I even found a use for the left over meringue - peppermint meringue cookies that are in my oven as we speak.  All around a VERY successful celebration today.

Looking forward to the weekend.  A food conundrum and crafting tomorrow, Sesame Street Live (shh, it's a secret don't tell Noah and Kayla!) and the Super Bowl on Sunday.  Should be wonderful :)  Until then...

My heavenly smelling mint chocolate cake

 Add the ice cream

 Meringue is ready to go

I built Mt. Alaska!

 A moment of silence is needed to bask in the beauty...

 A quick side view before serving

 Noah wasn't quite sure about it at first but he loved Baked Alaska Day

Peppermint Meringues baking away

2 comments:

  1. You are simply amazing, Kristi!

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    1. Aw, thanks MIL :) I've got to admit that I'm pretty stinkin' proud of this one :-p

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