AKA. Great British Bake Off challenge number 3!

For those not living in the UK, you wouldn’t believe the furore that Great British Bake Off caused the week they attempted Baked Alaska. A bit of ‘you’ve got your own freezer’ drama, meant melted ice cream and ultimately one Baked Alaska thrown in a bin mid strop. There was outrage on Twitter. Accusations of OAP ice cream sabotage. It was all so stressful that I couldn’t even contemplate attempting Baked Alaska. But I came round and I’m so glad I did. I’m proud to present to you – Lemon Meringue Baked Alaska.

Lemon Meringue Ice Cream

I have never made ice cream before, so I turned to Delia for my lemon meringue ice cream recipe. This is her recipe below.

For the lemon syrup:

7 fl oz (200 ml) fresh lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
grated zest 2 lemons
2 heaped teaspoons cornflour
5 oz (150 g) caster sugar

For the ice cream:

15 fl oz (425 ml) whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 rounded teaspoon cornflour
6 oz (175 g) caster sugar
7 fl oz (200 ml) Greek yoghurt
4 meringue nests, broken into coarse chunks

First of all make the lemon syrup: in a bowl mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Then in a small saucepan dissolve the sugar with the remaining lemon juice over a low heat (5-6 minutes), add the zest, bring up to simmering point and cook for 5 minutes. Pour this over the cornflour mixture, return it all to the pan and, still keeping the heat low, cook for 2 more minutes, stirring, until thickened. Then cool and leave on one side till required.

Now make the custard base for the ice cream. Place the cream in a saucepan and heat gently. Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar together, then, when the cream reaches simmering point, pour it over the other ingredients, still whisking, and return the whole lot to the saucepan and bring back to a bare simmer, continuing to whisk. Pour the thickened custard into a bowl, cover with clingfilm placed directly on the surface of the custard and leave on one side until cold.

When the mixture is cold, combine it with the yoghurt, then pour this into the freezer box, cover and freeze for 2 hours or until the mixture is starting to freeze. After that use an electric hand whisk to whisk again, while it is still in the box. Re-freeze, then after a couple of hours repeat the whisking, this time adding the lemon syrup. Finally, lightly and evenly, fold in the meringue pieces, put the lid back on and freeze till needed. It will take a further 6-8 hours to freeze completely.

lemon meringue baked alaska

For the cake base

125g/4½oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
125g/4½oz caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
125g/4½oz self-raising flour, sifted

For the meringue

3 egg whites
200g/7oz caster sugar
pinch cream of tartar

For the lemon sauce

1 egg, plus one yolk
zest and juice of 2 lemons
180g caster sugar

Line a bowl with two layers of cling film, leaving enough hanging over the edge to pull the ice cream back out again. You may have to wait for your ice cream to melt a little so you can fill the bowl properly. Cover with the clingfilm and put back in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 20cm/8inch round cake tin. You should technically use a 2 litre bowl but I only had a cereal bowl, so just trimmed my cake once it was cooked.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy and then gradually add each egg beating continuously. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Immediately turn the temperature up to 220C/425F/Gas 7. For the meringue whisk the egg white until they form soft peaks, add the sugar and cream of tartar and whisk until you form stiff peaks and could hold the bowl upside down above your head. I made Italian meringue, which is just an unnecessary faff like tempered chocolate.

While your cake cools down, make your lemon sauce. Beat the egg yolks with the zest and juice and a glass bowl. Add the sugar and the butter and place over a pan of boiling water. Stir until your sauce is thick and glossy.

Here comes the exciting part. Building the Baked Alaska. Assemble your Baked Alaska on a flat baking tray. Place your cake in the centre and with the help of the cling film put your ice cream on top. I didn’t pipe my meringue, just smother it on with a spoon and make the peaks using the back of the spoon.

Once your Alaska has been constructed you need to pop it into the centre of your oven for 3-4 minutes. Watch it carefully, your meringue just needs to turn a golden colour. Don’t panic, it won’t completely melt!

Serve it immediately with the lemon sauce drizzled over the top.

lemon meringue baked alaska 3

This was so yummy, but let’s be honest, it took me all weekend! How they turned anything out in a few hours I will never know. If you can’t be bothered with such a time consuming dessert, just make the ice cream. It’s amazing!

I’m not sure I’d make Baked Alaska again, not by making my own ice cream anyway. It’s also only suitable for a large group really, as you can’t freeze it again. Trust me I tried! The ice cream and meringue freeze fine but the cake goes rock hard which, if I’d thought about it, was rather obvious.