The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.
Being Syrian, I have been making browned butter for as long as I can remember! When we make hummus, we brown butter and pine nuts in a pan before pouring them over the warm hummis. Delicious! Thankfully, having so much experience browning butter, I had no problem with that part of the challenge. Actually, I found this challenge to be much easier than I expected. I have made quite a bit of ice cream over the summer so that part was easy, and the cake wasn't too hard. The toughest part for me was applying the meringue which wasn't too bad either!
I made the browned butter pound cake and meringue as instructed, but I did substitute the vanilla ice cream for Chocolate-Studded Grand Marnier Ice Cream. To die for! YUM!
Brown Butter Pound Cake
19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
1 cup (220g) sugar
Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.
Chocolate-Studded Grand Mariner Ice Cream
2 cups heavy (35%) cream
1 cup milk (any type except skim)
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavoured liqueur
1/2 cup finely chopped orange-flavoured dark chocolate, such as Terry's Chocolate Orange
1. In a large bowl, mix together the cream, milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Put the Grand Marnier in a small bowl. Refridgerate both the cream mix and the liqueur until completely chilled, about 1 hour or as long as overnight.
2. Stir the Grand Marnier into the cream mixture then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. When churning is complete, fold in the orange-flavoured chocolate bits.Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until semi-firm, approximately 3 hours.
Assembly Instructions – Baked Alaska
1. Line loaf pan with plastic wrap, so that plastic wrap covers all the sides and hangs over the edge. Fill to the top with ice cream. Cover the top with the overhanging plastic wrap and freeze for several hours, or until solid.
2. Level the top of the brown butter pound cake with a serrated knife or with a cake leveler. Cut out four rectangle to fit the bottom of the loaf pan from the cake. Discard the scraps or use for another purpose.
3. Make the meringue (see above.)
4. Unwrap the ice cream loaf and invert on top of a cake rectangle. Trim any extra cake if necessary.
5. Pipe the meringue over the ice cream and cake, or smooth it over with a spatula, so that none of the ice cream or cake is exposed. Freeze for one hour or up to a day.
6. Burn the tips of the meringue with a cooking blow torch. Or, bake the meringue-topped Baked Alaska on a rimmed baking sheet in a 500°F/260°C oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.