jordan winery baked alaska dessert recipe on plate

Five Steps to a Perfect Baked Alaska Dessert

A successful baked dessert awakens the inner child, a welcome touch of nostalgia and comfort to conclude a formal meal. It is the element of surprise from a tableside bananas foster, cherries jubilee or crepes suzette brought to the guest. For me, though, the impossibility of a hot dessert surrounding frozen ice cream or sorbet was pure magic, and to be able to perform the “trick” now in this Baked Alaska dessert recipe is a bit of a childhood dream come true. The history of the Baked Alaska dessert is somewhat muddled if you dig into the lore. It is often attributed to Antoine’s Restaurant of New Orleans, created in celebration of the newly purchased state of Alaska from Imperial Russia in 1867. I tend to believe the first written account where it was named the “Florida Alaska” after the differences in climate. Whatever the origin, our Jordan Baked Alaska dessert recipe consists of Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cake or financier cake as the base, our honey ice cream and simple Swiss meringue, garnished with cuttings of flowers from our pollinator garden, the colorful pollen collected from our hives and whimsical marzipan bees we make by hand.

 

baked alaska beehive dessert with olive oil

Five Steps to Perfect a Baked Alaska Dessert

  1. Bake a sheet cake of your choice and freeze; any sponge cake will work. At Jordan, we use either our olive oil cake or financier; but a brownie or even a cookie will work with some simple trial and error.
  2. Mold the ice cream into ramekins for individual servings or layered in a plastic-lined mixing bowl for a large presentation to be sliced tableside. Freeze the ice cream again for a minimum of 2-3 hours or up to a few days if wrapped carefully in cling wrap.
  3. Cut the frozen cake to the size of the ramekin or bowl top and then invert the molded ice cream onto the cake. Return to the freezer to fuse the two layers together.
  4. The day prior to serving, pipe or spoon the Swiss meringue (see seriouseats.com for a thorough explanation) around the entire dessert and decorate as desired. Return to the freezer.
  5. All that is left is a quick browning in a 500-degree oven for 2-3 minutes. Garnish your Baked Alaska dessert with handmade marzipan bees and serve to your stunned guests. Magic.

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About the Author

Growing up in Hawaii, Todd Knoll developed a strong connection to the land and the ocean at an early age. As executive chef at Jordan Winery, he grows hundreds of heirloom vegetables, fruits and herbs, cooks hors d’oeuvres and meals for guests, makes olive oil, and tends to the estate’s honeybees and chickens. A visual artist at heart, Chef Knoll spends his free time with his son and wife, Nitsa Knoll, exploring the diverse terrain of Sonoma County with camera and pencil in hand, capturing moments in nature to inspire his next recipe.

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