Sunday, March 7, 2010

Baked Alaska

My infatuation with all-things-delicious is purely genetic. Really, I think my DNA is infused with bursts of flavor and spoonfuls of enthusiasm. When my grandparents came to town, they went out to Oceanaire and raved about the food. My Grandfather, a man with a well-respected palate, described to me the dessert he indulged in—it was called "Baked Alaska." Hearing the words, ice-cream, cake, fire, meringue, left me salivating. I was very curious to see what this fantastic dessert was all about. Since my Gramps and I have an impenetrable bond, especially when it comes to our love for dessert, he insisted on treating me to this mysterious confection. He took me and my parents to Oceanaire, where we made a reservation for dessert—only! It was perfect. In this family, we are serious about everything that we consume so I came fully prepared—I already ate dinner so I wasn't hungry...but I saved plenty of room for dessert. We all ordered coffee, which is pretty standard for my native-New York family, and "one Baked Alaska." As we chatted, my anticipation grew. I didn't know what to expect.
Minutes later, the waiter came towards our table with about an 8-inch plate and with a dessert that looked like a bee-hive covered in whipped cream. He placed it down, right in front of me, pulled out a lighter and lit this dessert. I was in awe, this "Baked Alaska" more than just a scrumptious dessert—it was truly a piece of art (not-so-permanent though).The unruly flames died after a minute and it was time to divvy up this treat. My first bite was like floating on clouds on a cool day—the combination of the fluffy meringue, chocolate cake, and mint-chocolate-chip ice-cream gave me a natural high. The textures were well-balanced, and the flavors were spectacular. This was one of the best desserts I've EVER had.
When Gramps' brother, Uncle Herby, came to town, my parents and I brought him to Oceanaire...just for dessert ( I know, we have our priorities straight). He was very excited to try this foreign confection...and let's just say he wasn't disappointed. I think that this sweet experience was the cherry to his sundae flame to his Baked Alaska.

Readers, have you ever had a Baked Alaska? What was your experience like?

This confection is actually a Norwegian dessert. It's called " omelette á la norvégienne" or a Norwegian omelette.
The name "Baked Alaska" was designated to this treat when Delmonico's, a famous New York restaurant, named it in honor of "the newly acquired territory of Alaska" in 1876.

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