What a crazy couple of weeks it has been! It seems like just yesterday was June 3rd, am I right? Unfortunately June 4th, we learned that my sweet Aunty Becky had passed away unexpectedly in her sleep, so the past two weeks have kind of been a blur preparing for her funeral and spending time with family. As heartbreaking as it is to have to lay a family member to rest, it was bittersweet to get to spend time with extended family for a few days and reminisce on childhood memories.
My Aunt Becky was also a Gilmore Girls fan, so I am dedicating this post and recipe to her! I think she would enjoy it for sure. It comes from episode 1.12 – Double Date, where the storyline is all about my girl Sookie! Sookie is whipping meringue (By hand, might I add! Where is her KitchenAid??!) and explains to Lorelai that she’s thinking of doing a variation of baked Alaska for dessert. Lorelai jokes that she should make them in the shape of little Alaskas and Hawaiis since they joined the union last.
There was a little bit of freedom to interpretation with this recipe. Do I literally attempt to make miniature baked Alaskas vaguely shaped like states? I just couldn’t imagine meringue behaving well enough to pull that off. Not to mention Hawaii is the fourth smallest state in the country, hardly big enough to satisfy a Gilmore girl stomach! I had the idea to make a flight of baked Alaskas, which went really well until I took them out of the oven. Trying to transfer the mounds of hot meringue and ice cream to a plate just left me with a steaming soupy mess.
It’s true that necessity is the mother of invention. I needed to regroup on what a “variation” of baked Alaska would look like for my skill set, and for Sookie’s standards. I was up exceptionally late on a Tuesday night working on my aunt’s memorial slideshow when I had a delirious craving for a bean and cheese burrito from Rosa’s. I almost swore I was pregnant from how badly I needed it. I found myself sitting in the drive-thru lane at 10:55 pm (with two other cars, so I didn’t feel too guilty that they closed in five minutes) trying to think of how I would reattempt this week’s recipe. As I was waiting at a red light it hit me! A Hawaiian Alaska!! A deconstructed baked Alaska with gourmet pineapple sauce. Boom.
I’ve watched this series so many times I almost forget that Sookie and Jackson haven’t been together the entire time. I love going back to the beginning and seeing how everything fell together for them. Sadly, I think a lot of this adorable first date was totally overshadowed by Jackson’s cousin Rune. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t hilarious to watch. Who is this man? Why is he so rude? Wouldn’t Jackson have been aware of how socially oblivious Rune was? All I know is he definitely did deserve an anvil to the head.
Researching for a Hawaiian Alaska was relatively easy. I knew I wanted an angelfood cake base, vanilla ice cream and I already have a great go-to meringue recipe from Mary Berry’s Baked Alaska recipe. What wasn’t easy was finding a pineapple sauce that wasn’t made for a savory meal. I finally landed on Food & Wine’s fresh pineapple sauce. I was going in blind, but the Campari was an exotic touch that I thought would really elevate this from being just a deconstructed sundae to being gourmet.
Altogether, I would say this dessert was pretty fantastic. It’s light but there’s plenty of texture to explore in each of the layers. I halved the Joy of Cooking’s Angel Cake recipe (below) and cooked them in jumbo cupcake tins, since I knew this wasn’t a dessert that would keep well for more than a day. I should have done the same with the pineapple sauce recipe because it made way more than I needed. It calls for two cups of pineapple, pineapple juice and a cup of light corn syrup and only 15 minutes to reduce it down to a thick, glossy sauce. I had pineapple sauce practically boiling over and it was still not enough time to cook it down. In the end, I just spooned the soaked pineapple and some of the juice as the topping, and it was still delicious. If you’re not planning to use this as your go-to ice cream topping for the foreseeable future, I would recommend cutting the recipe in half. The meringue took somewhere about 20 minutes to make and I just spooned it on last and browned the top with my blow torch.
Final Review: I made all of this last night after I got home from work, with everything but the ice cream being made from scratch. So you could say that it’s a pretty easy dessert overall, especially if you choose to go a store-bought route with the cake. It would be great for a date night at home if you want to impress your special someone! It’s definitely much easier than making a traditional baked Alaska.
Rating: Delicious! I really need to start some sort of scale so these ratings can actually carry some sort of weight. Ha!
Angel Cake (from the Joy of Cooking)
1 c sifted cake flour
¾ c sugar + ¾ c sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups egg whites (about 11 large whites)
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond extract
Fresh Pineapple Sauce (from Food & Wine)
2 c diced fresh pineapple
2 c fresh pineapple juice
1 c sugar
1 c light corn syrup
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tspkosher salt
2 tsp Campari
1 c sugar
4 large egg whites
3 oz water
Vanilla Ice Cream
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl sift together the cake flour, ¾ c sugar and salt three times. In stand mixer combine the egg whites, lemon juice, cream of tartar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat on medium-high until mixture increases to 4 ½ to 5 times in volume and forms soft peaks. About 3 to 5 minutes. Continue beating on medium-high speed beating in 1 tablespoon of the ¾ c of sugar until incorporated and glossy peaks form. Do not beat until stiff. Sift the flour mixture in ¼ c at a time folding to incorporate. Fold seven times until no flour is visible. Do not stir. Transfer into a greased cake pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the Campari and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the Campari and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and shiny, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, then refrigerate. Serve cold.
Whisk the whites in a large bowl of a stand mixer until stiff. When the syrup temperature reaches 240°, slowly and carefully pour the syrup over the whisked whites in a thin stream taking care not to let the syrup run onto the whisk. Continue whisking for about 15 minutes until the meringue is completely cold.
To assemble, cut the angel cake into large squares. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a spoonful of the pineapple sauce. Spoon meringue on top and brown lightly with a kitchen blowtorch. Enjoy!