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Recipe

Strawberry Baked Alaska with Tarragon Meringue

Scott Phillips

Servings: Makes 6 servings

Tarragon infuses the cloud-like meringue in this layered ice cream cake with subtle flavor. If you want to give the meringue those beautiful peaks that brown so well, simply use the tines of a fork to swirl the meringue once you’re applied it to the cake, then use the kitchen torch to brown it. For best results, watch our video “How to Pull and Torch Meringue Frosting.”

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon good quality strawberry ice cream
  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • 18 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) cake flour, sifted
  • 1-3/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 1/3 cup (5/8 oz.) coarsely chopped tarragon; plus 18 leaves for garnish

Preparation

  • Freeze a medium rimmed baking sheet until very cold, about 20 minutes. Using a 4 oz. (for example, a #8 NSF brand) ice cream scoop, making sure the cup is completely filled and leveled off, scoop six portions of the ice cream onto the chilled sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 2 hours and up to overnight.
  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch cake pan with the butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk 12 egg whites, the granulated sugar, 1-1/2 tsp. cream of tartar, salt, and 1/3 cup of warm water until the egg whites reach medium firm peaks, about 3 minutes. Using a large silicone spatula, gently fold in the flour in 2 batches until fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth. Bake, turning halfway through, until the cake is a pale brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool. Turn the cake out onto a cutting board and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Using a round 3-1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut 6 rounds from the cake and cover with plastic until ready to use. Reserve or discard the excess cake from around the rounds.
  • Combine the superfine sugar, chopped tarragon, and 1/2 cup of water in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Remove it from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Using a medium mesh strainer, strain the tarragon pieces out of the syrup and discard. Return the syrup to the saucepan.
  • When ready to serve, put the remaining 6 egg whites and 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar, in the cleaned bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or put them in a large bowl and have ready a handheld electric mixer).
  • Cook the syrup over medium-high heat until the mixture begins to boil. Cover the pan and boil for 1 minute to allow the condensation to wash any sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Remove the lid and place a candy thermometer in the syrup.

  • When the syrup reaches 215°F, begin beating the whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. At this point, the sugar syrup should reach about 240°F. If so, with the mixer running, carefully pour the boiling sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. (If not, turn the mixer off until the syrup reaches temperature and turn it on before adding the syrup.) Continue to whisk on high speed until the meringue is cool and stiff, and glossy peaks appear, about 3 minutes.
  • Place the cake rounds on separate plates or all together on a very large serving platter. Using a small offset spatula, remove the ice cream scoops from the baking sheet and place one on top of each cake round. Evenly divide the meringue over each ice cream cake. Using the small offset spatula, spread the meringue over the entire piece of ice cream and cake, covering it down to the base. Using a kitchen torch, toast the meringue until it is lightly browned all over.
  • Garnish with the remaining tarragon leaves and serve immediately.

Tip

Recipe adapted from Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.

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