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From Maine to Alaska

From Maine to Alaska
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A New England twist on the retro dessert baked Alaska, this surprisingly easy, gasp-inducing treat would also work well with just about any cake recipe as its base. Individual desserts can be made using aluminum foil as a supportive collar around the cake base (remove foil before topping with meringue).

Yield: 6 servings

  • Vanilla pound cake, about 7 1/2-inch slices, frozen
  • 2 pints vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries, pureed
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers (about 3-1/2 full sheets)
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Cover bottom of pan with pieces of frozen pound cake, cutting pieces to fill in any gaps.

Blend softened ice cream with pureed blueberries and graham cracker crumbs. Spread ice cream mixture over pound cake pieces. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze at least 4 hours (up to 24).

Heat oven to 450°.

Whip egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until foamy. Add vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and whip until peaks are stiff and glossy.

Remove cake base from pan. Spread meringue over ice cream base (use an offset spatula to make dramatic swirls), or use a pastry bag to pipe it. Place in oven 4 minutes or until meringue is evenly golden brown. If you prefer, use a kitchen torch instead of the oven to get even coloring.

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