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    Baked alaska with coffee and amaretti

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    Baked alaska with coffee and amaretti

    Guaranteed to impress, this is easier to make than you might imagine. The ice-cream parfait can be prepared a few days in advance, then covered with meringue a few hours before serving. Just take it out of the freezer when ready and finish in a hot oven or with a blowtorch. 

    • Preparation time: 1 hour, plus chilling, cooling and 27 hours freezing
    • Cooking time: 25 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes, plus chilling, cooling and 27 hours freezing

    Serves: 8-10

    Ingredients

    sunflower oil, for greasing
    8 egg yolks (reserve 5 egg whites for the base and meringue)
    150g caster sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    4 tsp instant espresso powder
    500ml double cream
    2 tbsp chocolate coffee beans, chopped
    2 tbsp amaretto liqueur
    40g crisp amaretti biscuits, crushed
    gold stardust (optional)

    ALMOND BASE
    1 egg white
    50g caster sugar
    75g ground almonds
    25g icing sugar
    10g cocoa

    MERINGUE
    4 egg whites
    225g caster sugar

    Method

    1. Use the top of a 900g loaf tin (or 1.1-litre pudding basin) as a template to draw a rectangle or circle on a sheet of baking parchment and set aside. Brush the insides of the loaf tin or bowl with sunflower oil, then line the base and sides with cling film, leaving the excess to hang over the edges.

    2. To make the parfait, put the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla in a medium glass bowl and whisk to combine. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Use electric beaters to whisk for about 5 minutes until the mixture has doubled in volume, is pale and holds a firm ribbon trail when the whisk is lifted from the bowl.

    3. Transfer the bowl to a sink of very cold water to cool the mixture rapidly. Meanwhile, dissolve the espresso powder in 2 tsp just-boiled water. In another bowl, whip the cream until it holds medium-firm peaks. When the egg yolk mixture is completely cold, divide it between 2 bowls (about 150g each). Mix the espresso and chopped chocolate coffee beans into one of the bowls. Fold in ½ the whipped cream, then carefully spoon into the lined loaf tin (or basin). Freeze for 1 hour, until firm. Meanwhile, cover and chill the remaining egg yolk mixture and whipped cream.

    4. After an hour, stir the amaretto and crushed amaretti biscuits into the reserved egg yolk mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream, then spoon into the loaf tin on top of the coffee layer. Fold the excess cling film over the top, cover and freeze for 24 hours.

    5. Meanwhile, make the almond base. Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4, and put the marked sheet of parchment on a small baking tray. Put the egg white in a bowl with the caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Using clean electric beaters, whisk for about 3 minutes until the mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks. Sift the ground almonds, icing sugar and cocoa into the bowl, then stir to combine. Using a palette knife, spread onto the baking parchment, neatly filling the drawn shape. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, until the top is crisp. Turn the oven off and leave inside for 5 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool completely.

    6. The next day, peel the cling film off the base of the parfait and turn it out onto the almond base (you may need to run warm water over the tin quickly to release it). Leave the cling film on top and return to the freezer for 1 hour. For the meringue, put the egg whites, caster sugar, a pinch of salt and ½ tbsp warm water into a medium heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the base doesn’t touch the water. Using electric beaters, whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are starting to turn white and increase in volume (about 2-3 minutes; the egg whites should feel hot to touch). Remove the bowl from the heat then whisk for 4-5 minutes until the meringue is very thick and glossy, has trebled in volume and will hold a firm peak. Sit the bowl in a sink of cold water if the meringue is still warm.

    7. Peel the cling film off the parfait and, using a palette knife, entirely cover it in meringue. Return to the freezer for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours). For best results, use a blowtorch to brown the meringue. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 220˚C, gas mark 7. Bake for 3-4 minutes until the meringue starts to turn golden, but keep a close eye on it to make sure the ice cream doesn't melt. Dust with gold stardust to serve, if liked. 

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    This recipe first appeared in Waitrose & Partners Food, December 2019 issue. Download the Waitrose & Partners Food app for the full issue

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