Monday, February 23, 2015

Brownie Baked Alaska and Old Brown Trucks

Brownie Baked Alaska

1  quart  Ice Cream, any flavor, slightly softened  (I like Mint Chocolate Chip)

1/2  Cup  Butter, softened
1  Cup  Sugar
2  Eggs
1  Cup  Flour
1/2  teaspoon  Baking Powder
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
2  Tablespoons  Cocoa
1  teaspoon  Vanilla

5  Egg Whites  (use the yolks to make Sour Cream Lemon Pie )
1  Cup  Sugar
1/2  teaspoon  Cream of Tartar

For the Ice Cream:
Line a 1-quart freezer safe bowl with waxed paper or parchment paper, leaving an overhang around the edges of the bowl.  Pack the Ice Cream very firmly into the bowl and freeze until hard.

For the Brownie:
Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan (and line with a waxed-paper circle if you have trouble with things sticking); set aside.

In a mixer bowl, cream the Butter and Sugar together on medium speed.  Add the 2 Eggs, mixing well.  Gradually stir in the remaining ingredients, stirring just until mixed together.  Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Bake at 350* for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Cool in cake pan 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and allow to completely cool.  When Brownie has thoroughly cooled, place on an oven-safe serving dish, invert the frozen Ice Cream on top of the Brownie, remove the bowl (leaving the waxed paper in place) and return Brownie/Ice Cream to freezer.

For the Meringue:
Combine the Egg Whites, 1 Cup Sugar, and Cream of Tartar in the top of a double boiler.  Place over simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, for 5 minutes or until mixture reaches 160* (I set a timer).  Remove from heat and transfer to a large clean mixing bowl.  Beat on High speed for 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form.

To Assemble:
Remove the Ice Cream-topped Brownie from the freezer and peel off the paper.  Quickly spread the Meringue over the entire surface, making absolute certain that all edges are sealed.  At this point the Baked Alaska can be returned to the freezer and baked just before serving.  Baked Alaska can be kept in the freezer for up to one week before serving.

To Bake:
Preheat over to 500*.  Remove the Alaska from the freezer and bake for 2 to 3-1/2 minutes, or until meringue peaks are lightly browned.  Keep a Very Close Eye on the Alaska after 2 minutes have passed!  Slice into 10-12 portions and serve immediately. 

"In this is love:
not that we loved God,
but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the
atoning sacrifice for our sins.
if God loved us so very much,
we also ought to love one another."
1 John 4:10 & 11, Amplified  

Don't, oh please don't let this Dessert overwhelm you.
Yes, it looks impressive.
But preparation truly is not.
Can you pack Ice Cream into a bowl, bake a Brownie,
and whip some Egg Whites?  Then you can make this!

You can also make some fun variations:
use half of a cake mix
(Yellow? White? Angel Food?)
and different Ice Cream
(Strawberry? Chocolate? Raspberry Sherbet?)
and snap! dessert's a piece of cake! 

Pack the Ice Cream firmly into a freezer safe bowl

Mix the Brownie batter as instructed

Cleanly lick off east beater before placing them in the sink

This is what happens when you don't use a waxed paper circle

Place the Brownie on an oven-safe plate; top with Ice Cream

Whip the Egg Whites until stiff peaks form

You can spread the Meringue out smoothly or used the back of a spoon to make peaks

And bake until a light golden brown

According to the nine-year-old, we had a Very Strange dinner for Valentine's Day: fish soup with the shells still on and a weird baked ice cream dessert.  (We had Chioppino and Brownie Baked Alaska.)

I have had a fascination with Baked Alaska from almost the very beginning of my cooking experience.  I think I was about a freshman in High School when I made my first Baked Alaska.  In the evenings I would sit and read my Mom's cookbooks, drooling over the elaborate foods in her Southern Living cookbook.  Lobster Thermidor and Bananas Foster were out of the question.  But Baked Alaska?  Most everyone has these basic ingredients in their pantry and freezer.  

So, I would make the Alaska in the afternoon, pop it into the freezer, and then begin  to ask when it would suit to have some company in the evening to help eat this dessert, because Baked Alaska is always best enjoyed with friends.  Usually we would ask my Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins J & K.  

Now, you need to understand that my siblings and I have always had a very close relationship with our cousins.  J is the oldest grandson, I the oldest granddaughter, and with only a year and a half between us, J is the older brother I never had.  Growing up through the Junior High years we would pretend that we "liked" each other (which really just consisted of passing notes like "What are you doing this afternoon").  This was *hopefully* to prevent any classmates from developing a "crush" on either of us, which, when you think about how small our school was, everyone already knew we were cousins.  Such is the logic of sixth and seventh graders.

Our close relationship was especially great when I reached High School and J had his driver's license.  You see, upon entering Young Folks after Eighth Grade graduation, if I wanted to go to Young Folks after Church I had to ask for a ride to get there.  This was extremely challenging to me.  I was only thirteen and I had to ask someone who could drive--that means they were at least three years older than me--for a ride.  How mortifying!  So when J got his license and his Grandpa gave J and K his old brown stick-shift Ford Ranger it was a great relief to awkward me.  No more sheepishly asking for rides.

Now keep in mind that this truck was nothing special: roll-down windows, no AC, keyed entry locks--no extra power features at all.  And J was ever the gentleman: he would unlock my door from the outside before going to his side and getting in.  However, unbeknownst to me, there was a young man observing this.  He saw all this from a distance and he knew I was too young to date (he even knew when my sixteenth birthday was and when I really would be old enough to date).  What he didn't know was that J was my cousin.  And so, four days after my sixteenth birthday, T called asking for a date.

And the rest, she wrote, was history.
I traded riding in my cousin's old brown Ford Ranger for riding in my honey's old(er) brown Chevy pickup.

And that, my friend, is how Brownie Baked Alaska and my cousin's old brown truck helped to bring T and I together.

And yes, T and I still laugh over it!

Slightly adapted from The Southern Living Cookbook.

1 comment:

deborah said...

What a fun story! And I'm intrigued with the Baked Alaska. Oh dear! Probably gonna have to try it one of these days!! :)

The pictures of your baker helper are adorable!