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Oven or kitchen torch for Baked Alaska?

I'm making my first baked alaska for a dinner party on Saturday (planning on assembling it on Friday, including meringue, keeping it in the freezer overnight, and then just browning it on Saturday when it's time for dessert), and I can't decide whether to brown it in the oven or with my brand-new kitchen torch. Torch definitely seems cool, but I'm wondering if it's nicer for the cake/ice cream to get just a little unfrozen in the oven while the meringue browns... any thoughts? Also, if anyone's got a favorite recipe, I'd love to hear it -- am currently planning on using Martha Stewart's Baked Alaska with Chocolate Cake and Chocolate ice cream.
Thanks!

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    1. 2nd Torch, definately! I'd take it out of the freeze about 30 min ahead.

      1. I go for the oven. If it's coming right out of the freezer, the ice cream (and frozen berries if you're using them) will benefit from some defrosting.

        3 Replies
          1. re: FrankJBN

            Oven here, too. You can always torch areas that are not uniform, but the oven browning kind of softens everything, too.

            1. re: jeanmarieok

              This. Definitely oven, then use your torch for any added browning desired. The oven tempers your ice cream and gives the meringue a nice texture, the torch takes care of your bells and whistles. Post a picture!

        1. Since you are making it on Friday, just use your torch then to brown the meringue and then freeze it. Then on Saturday all you have to do is pull it out 30 minutes beforehand and you will have one less thing to do and more time to enjoy your party.

          4 Replies
          1. re: RetiredChef

            I don't think this would be as good as browning at the time of service.

            1. re: FrankJBN

              Why? Freezing caramelized meringue doesn’t change it’s flavor. Besides when Baked Alaska's were the rage we would have 50 individual ones pre-browned in the freezer for customers and no one knew the difference.

              1. re: RetiredChef

                For one it would lose the fresh browned aroma. For another it would lose the freshly browned hint of warmth. For an other another it would lose the freshly browned texture.

                There is no doubt that flame charred the day before will not be as good as flame charred at the time of service. Your customers 50 years ago had no point of comparision since all you were serving was day old baked alaska.

                There are very few foods that are better pre-prepared then slapped on the counter-top to come up to room temp. Baked Alaska is certainly not one of them.

                1. re: FrankJBN

                  Frank,

                  I think you are making a bunch of assumptions that are not based on empirical evidence or tests.

                  >>> There are very few foods that are better pre-prepared then slapped on the counter-top to come up to room temp. Baked Alaska is certainly not one of them.
                  First of all it's not brought up to room-temperature, the ice cream would melt, instead you are tempering the ice cream which is the EXACT same thing you are doing by browning it in the oven before hand or as other posters have suggested, tempering it for 30 minutes on the counter. And yes, this does enhance the Baked Alaska, it makes it easier to cut and easier to eat since the ice cream will not be rock hard.

                  >>> For an other another it would lose the freshly browned texture.

                  Wow I know a very high end steak house that pre-marks it's steaks (browns them) and then finishes them in the oven later, they have never received a complaint about their char marks losing their "freshly browned texture." You simply cannot tell the difference.

                  >>> For another it would lose the freshly browned hint of warmth

                  LOL - Flash it in the oven if you wish, but in all my experience I have never seen anyone warming their hands over a non-flaming baked Alaska, enjoying the radiating warmth of the caramelized meringue.

                  >>> For one it would lose the fresh browned aroma.

                  Are you guests going to stick their head in the oven where 99% of that aroma is? You can simply flash it in the oven again to get what small residual aroma that they will receive in the dining room if that is your concern.

                  >>> There is no doubt that flame charred the day before will not be as good as flame charred at the time of service.

                  Actually there is a lot of doubt, you are making a assumption based upon what?

                  Have you ever tried an experiment, I have and found that people could not tell the difference.

                  >>> Your customers 50 years ago had no point of comparision since all you were serving was day old baked alaska.

                  Not true at all, if there was a discernible difference then restaurant X would have been doing it and getting rave reviews, instead of it became the industry norm because there was no difference.

                  Cheers

          2. When I make Baked Alaska I used the oven, it browns beautifully all over and I like the way it looks.

              1. Thanks, everyone... looks like there isn't a "right" answer, at least! I think I'll go for the oven, with the torch as backup for any necessary specific browning. Thanks!

                1. OVEN

                  (i get flavour) ...better.