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Baked Alaska, also known as omelette norvégienne, omelette surprise, or omelette sibérienne depending on the country, is a dessert consisting of ice cream and cake topped with browned meringue. The dish is made of ice cream placed in a pie dish, lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas pudding, and topped with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven for a brief time, long enough to firm and caramelize the meringue but not long enough to begin melting the ice cream.
|Alternative names||Glace au four, omelette norvégienne (Norwegian omelette), omelette surprise, omelette sibérienne|
|Place of origin||United States[dubious ]|
|Region or state||New Orleans[dubious ]|
|Main ingredients||Ice cream, sponge cake or Christmas pudding, and meringue|
|Variations||Bombe Alaska, flame on the iceberg|
The most distinctive claim about the name "baked Alaska" is that it was coined at Antoine's, a restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana, US, by its chef de cuisine Antoine Alciatore in 1867 to honor the acquisition by the United States of Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 10 that year. However, no contemporary account exists to support this claim, and the name was not used until some years after the Alaska Purchase. Delmonico's chef Charles Ranhofer called the dish an "Alaska, Florida" in 1894, apparently referring to the contrast between its cold and hot elements.
The dish is also known as an omelette à la norvégienne, or "Norwegian omelette", which similarly refers to the cold climate of Norway. Indeed, during the Paris World's fair in 1867, the chef of the Grand Hôtel decided to create a "scientific dessert" by using Benjamin Thompson's discovery of the low thermal conductivity of egg whites. Thompson lived in Bavaria at the time, and as the chef thought Bavaria was in Norway, he decided to name the dish "Norwegian omelette".
In 1969, the recently invented microwave oven enabled Hungarian gastrophysicist Nicholas Kurti to produce a reverse baked Alaska (also called a "Frozen Florida")—a frozen shell of meringue filled with hot liquor.
Flame on the iceberg is a popular dessert in Hong Kong that is similar to baked Alaska. The dessert is an ice-cream ball in the middle of a sponge cake, with cream on the top. Whisky and syrup are poured over the top and the ball set alight before serving.[unreliable source?] Decades ago, the delicacy was served only in high-end hotels, but today it is commonly served in many Western restaurants and even in some cha chaan teng.
A bombe Alaska at a restaurant in Singapore which has been flambéed with alcohol
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- Charles Ranhofer (1894). "(3538). ALASKA, FLORIDA (Alaska, Florida)". The Epicurean. A Complete Treatise of Analytical and Practical Studies of the Culinary Art including Table and Wine Service, how to Prepare and Cook Dishes, and Index for Marketing, A Great Variety of Bills of Fare for Breakfasts, Luncheons, Dinners, Suppers, Ambigus, Buffets, etc., and a Selection of Interesting Bills of Fare of Delmonico's from 1862 to 1894. Making a Franco-American Culinary Encyclopedia. [...] Illustrated with 800 Plates (1st ed.). New York, N.Y.: Charles Ranhofer, publisher, 682 West End Avenue. p. 1007. OCLC 944768.
- John Ayto (1990). The Glutton's Glossary: A Dictionary of Food and Drink Terms. London; New York, N.Y.: Routledge. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-415-02647-5.
- "L'omelette norvégienne : un parfum d'Alaska - Ça m'intéresse". Ça m'intéresse - La curiosité en continu (in French). 2016-12-30. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
- "Histoire de l'omelette norvégienne". Du sacré au sucré (in French). 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
- Martin Lersch. "Molecular gastronomy: History". Khymos. Archived from the original on 1 May 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- Geoff Jansz. "Bombe Alaska". Burke's Backyard. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
- "Gorilaz" (23 June 2009). "另类雪糕 冰山大火/火焰雪山". Flyker.cn (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.