Caramelized Meringue Topping
Recipe by Sarah Phillips; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 2009 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
This meringue works beautifully when frozen because it is stabilized with a cooked sugar syrup. It is great to top pies with.
EGG INGREDIENT HELP
Recipe used with the:
Cuatro Leches Mantecado Cake Recipe
The more "swirly" your meringue looks on top of a dessert, the prettier it will be when it is browned.
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 large egg whites (1 liquid cup)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, fitted with a candy thermometer, bring water and sugar to a softball temperature, 240 degrees F.
2. While the syrup is cooking, in a mixer bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low until foamy.
Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised.
3. Lower the mixer speed to medium. Slowly add the sugar syrup at the side of the bowl.
4. Once all of the sugar syrup is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to high, add lemon juice and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.
Cover the Assembled Cakes with Meringue:
1. When your meringue reaches stiff peaks, remove tray of ice cream and cake domes from the freezer and generously spread meringue on each dome, swirling the meringue decoratively, with a small off-set spatula.
2. Place meringue covered domes on a parchment lined baking sheet and place them back in the freezer.
Brown the Baked Alaskas:
There are two ways you can brown the meringue on Baked Alaska. You can use a hand-held torch, or you can brown them in the oven.
The torch is more fun, but, in my opinion, the oven browning does a superior job, because the meringue comes out warmer, and more crisp...with a taste much like a toasted marshmallow. Plus, the oven heats the cake, and the ganache, making it softer, and tastier.
I recommend using the oven-browning method.
OPTION A: To brown the meringue with a torch
1. Place baked Alaska on a serving plate and, using a hand-held torch, brown the meringue by moving the torch in a circular pattern, until you see the meringue starting to brown.
2. Do this until the whole surface of the meringue is browned.
Do not leave the torch in one place for too long, or the meringue will burn.
OPTION B: To oven-brown the meringue
1. 15 minutes before you plan to serve dessert, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place parchment lined sheet of "Unbaked Alaskas" in the oven and bake till meringue is nicely browned.
This may take anywhere from 4-6 minutes, depending on your oven.
3. When Baked Alaskas are brown, remove tray from oven and, using a spatula, remove Baked Alaskas from the baking sheet and place them on serving plates.