February 1st is National Baked Alaska Day! Baked Alaska is a decadent dessert made with ice cream, sponge cake, and toasted meringue. Although the name “Baked Alaska” did not emerge until the 19th century, this dish is part of a long culinary tradition.
The concept of serving cream and cake together dates back to the Renaissance. The cooks of the era were the first to adorn their baked goods with a whipped topping. This laid the foundation for Baked Alaska, but it does not account for two of the dessert’s distinguishing characteristics—temperature and texture.
The Chinese were the first culture to cook pastry over an ice cream filling, which results in a delicious combination of hot and cold components. Credit is also due to the American physicist Benjamin Thompson, who experimented with the heat resistance of beaten egg whites and discovered how to make meringue.
Whether you prefer to call it Baked Alaska, glace au four, omelette a la norvegienne, or Norwegian omelette, celebrate National Baked Alaska Day with a scrumptious serving of this unique dessert!