Step by step recipe:
- 1 hour
The rum-soaked spongeMake 500 g Génoise (Genoa sponge) in a 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) tin or mould.
- 5 min.Cut the cake in half lengthways.
If necessary, trim off any crusty edges to neaten the sides. Sit the pieces on a baking sheet.
Note: when cutting cake like this, a serrated knife makes the job easier.
- 3 min.Prepare the soaking syrup by mixing 150 g Sugar syrup and 30 g rum in a bowl.
- 2 hoursUse a brush to soak both pieces of cake generously with the syrup.
Put in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
- 1 hour
- 5 min.After this, add 400 ml blackcurrant sorbet as a second layer and flatten the top as before.
- 5 min.Place the second piece of soaked cake on top, then neaten the sides, adding a little more ice cream to fill any gaps.
The "sandwich" should be a tidy rectangular block in 4 layers: soaked cake base, vanilla ice cream, blackcurrant sorbet and soaked cake lid.
- 2 hoursSit this ice-cream sandwich in an oven-proof dish, cover with plastic film and return to the freezer one last time for at least 2 hours.
The assembled block can be made in advance and kept like this for several days.
- 2 min.
Finish the dessertAbout 15 minutes before you intend serving, preheat the oven to 460°F (240°C). Take the ice-cream sandwich in its dish out of the freezer.
- 5 min.
- 5 min.Cover the ice-cream sandwich completely with an even layer of meringue, using a palette-knife once more, if possible, to smooth the surface.
- 7 min.Put any leftover meringue into a forcing bag with a fluted nozzle and pipe decorations on the top and around the base.
Finish by scattering a few flaked almonds over.
- 5 min.Bake in the very hot oven for about 5 minutes, just enough to lightly brown the meringue and give it a thin crust.
You can also finish the dessert under the grill or with a torch, like for a crème brulée.
- 5 min.Serve a slice to each guest, either on its own or with a little real custard (crème anglaise).
Remarks:Baked Alaska* can be varied with different types of cake and ice cream. Instead of genoa sponge, you could use provençal colombier for pentecost or almond macaroon cake, for example. The ice cream can be just one flavour or a combination, and you can replace the rum with a different liquor, such as Calvados (this would be a "Norman" version).
Though it is not essential, you can flambé the dessert (using rum) at the table just before serving - guaranteed to impress your guests!
*Translator's note: the French name is even more bizarre: "omelette norvégienne" or Norwegian omelette!