This Valentine’s Day, we decided to prepare a romantic dinner at home – together – instead of going to a restaurant. For dessert, we settled on a Baked Alaska – a very old school dessert that I remember reading about in a 1930’s cookbook that my Grandmother gave me. However, an old school dessert never fails to bring the WOW factor to any celebration. The meringue insulates sponge cake that is covers rich and decadent ice cream center and you torch the entire dessert before service.
While I like the idea of the Baked Alaska, I was not looking forward to my sinuses swelling with mucus and struggling to breathe for the remaining of the night once the ice cream activate my dairy allergies. This was not the ideal way to spend Valentine’s Day night… you would have to agree.
Cue my brilliant endorsement of Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent line of non-dairy frozen desserts – vegan “ice cream.”
Stop turning up your noses and twisting your mouth… because this “ice cream” is absolutely everything you want in an ice cream minus the dairy. It is loaded with all of the decadent flavor of a premium ice cream and has no beany flavor from the soymilk. The texture is amazing! Purely Decadent is rich, creamy, and very smooth. I wonder how long they are churning this stuff for this texture. I have played with homemade non-dairy ice cream and I have to churn at least a hour before I get a smooth texture and it still is not as smooth as Purely Decadent.
I serve this “ice cream” to some of my most ardent ice cream lovers and they have not been able to detect the difference. In South Florida, Whole Foods carries the widest selection of these “ice creams.” Visit the Turtle Mountain website to locate other markets that carry this line. So even if you live and die for ice cream, you have to try Purely Decadent vegan “ice creams.” Or, if you want to WOW your dairy challenged loved one… make this non-dairy dessert.
My Recipe: CHOCOLATE CHERRY PECAN BAKED ALASKA serve 6 – 8
Chocolate Sponge Cake
1 c granulated sugar, separated
½ c, 2 ½ T all-purpose flour
½ c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t kosher salt
½ c canola oil
⅓ c water
1 t vanilla extract
1 t espresso coffee powder, optional
3 large eggs, room temperature and separated
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 c granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 pint Purely Decadent Cherry Nirvana vegan “ice cream”
½ c toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
cherry brandy, optional… but highly recommended!
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees; line a 12” x 7” sheet pan with parchment, set aside
Make the Chocolate Sponge Cake: Using a hand or stand mixer, whip three egg yolks on high speed until they are pale yellow and thick, approximately 6 minutes
Sift the following together and set aside: ¾ c granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt
Combine the following in another bowl: water, canola oil, vanilla extract, and coffee powder
Once egg yolks are pale yellow and thickened, reduce mixer speed and drizzle in the liquid ingredients; add the dry ingredients and set batter aside
In a clean mixing bowl, whip three egg whites until foamy; slowly add ¼ c granulated sugar and whip on high speed until egg whites form medium peaks, approximately 4 minutes; gently fold egg whites into the cake batter
Spread batter into parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 18 minutes; set aside to completely cool
Allow “ice cream” to soften at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes for ease in spreading
Assemble Dessert: Line a small, 6-cup, mixing bowl with plastic wrap, making sure to have ample over hang to cover the bottom of the dessert; invert chocolate sponge cake and carefully pull away the parchment paper and discard; cut sponge cake into three equal pieces; use one third on the sponge cake to cover the inside of the bowl; brush lightly with cherry brandy, if using
Scoop half of the “ice cream” onto the sponge cake; smooth and level; sprinkle with half of the chopped pecans; add another layer of sponge cake ; brush with cherry brandy; add remaining “ice cream” and chopped pecans; cover with remaining sponge cake and brush with cherry brandy
Using the plastic wrap over hang, form dessert into a dome-shape; and secure plastic wrap; return dessert to the freezer to harden, approximately 1 to 2 hours, or until ready for service
For service, remove dessert from freezer, remove plastic wrap and invert onto a serving platter; return to freezer until you make the meringue
In a clean mixing bowl, whip the remaining four egg whites until foamy; slowly add remaining granulated sugar and continue to whip on high speed for 8 minutes; add scraped vanilla seeds into the meringue and continue to whip for another 5 minutes until meringue forms stiff peaks and it is smooth
To cover the dessert with the meringue, you can use a piping bag or a tablespoon to create waves, swirls, swooshes, and peaks (which is what I prefer)
Use a hand held blow torch to toast the outside of the dessert; rotating the platter as you torch; Alternately, you can toast the meringue in the oven at 350-degrees for about 2 minutes
…. graciously accept the WOWs you will deserve!
NOTE: Two people will not be able to finish this dessert… not under normal circumstances and with a normal appetite. We wrapped Baked Alaska in plastic wrap and froze more than ¾ of the Baked Alaska. Surprisingly, it held up very well. The meringue remained soft and fluffy right from the freezer.
always in good T.A.S.T.E – cause you gottatastethis!