Baked Alaska is a neat ice-cream dessert that is surrounded with meringue, the meringue acting as an insulation between the frozen ice-cream and the hot oven so that, if you have been careful not to leave any holes, the ice-cream emerges as cold as when it went in. You can make a baked Alaska with a shop-bought sponge and manufactured ice-cream or make them both yourself.
Freeze the ice-cream in the coldest section of the freezer and freeze the sponge on a baking sheet overnight.
Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/ gas 8. Make the meringue. With an electric mixer set at medium speed, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then increase the speed to maximum and gradually add the sugar until the peaks are firm, but taking care not to take it too far or the meringue will separate.
Spread the sponge with the jam. Turn out the ice-cream to sit on top of the jam. Smooth the meringue all over it with a palette knife, taking it right down to the edge to seal the ice-cream in entirely.
Bake for 4–5 minutes, until the meringue is just beginning to colour. Remove and serve immediately.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.