Baked Alaska

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Baked Alaska
Baked Alaska (5097717743).jpg
Cherry Baked Alaska
Alternative names Glace au four, omelette à la norvégienne, Norwegian omelette, omelette surprise
Course Dessert
Place of origin France, United States or Hong Kong
Region or state Paris, New York or Hong Kong
Main ingredients Meringue, ice cream, sponge cake or Christmas pudding
Variations Bombe Alaska, Flame on the iceberg
Cookbook: Baked Alaska  Media: Baked Alaska
Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska is a dessert food consisting of ice cream and cake topped with browned meringue.


The dish is also known as glace au four, omelette à la norvégienne, Norwegian omelette and omelette surprise. A similar dessert in Hong Kong is known as flame on the iceberg.


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 the meringue.[1] The meringue is an effective insulator, and the short cooking time prevents the heat from getting through to the ice cream.

The most common claim about the name "Baked Alaska" is that it was coined at Delmonico's Restaurant by their chef-de-cuisine Charles Ranhofer in 1876 to honor the recently acquired American territory of Alaska.[1] However, no period account exists of this happening and the name would not be used until later. Ranhofer himself referred to the dish as "Alaska Florida" in 1894, apparently referring to the contrast between extremes of heat and cold.[2] The name "omelette à la norvégienne"/"Norwegian omelette" similarly refers to the low temperature of Norway.[3]

February 1 is Baked Alaska Day in the United States.[4]


In 1969, the recently invented microwave oven enabled Hungarian physicist and molecular gastronomist Nicholas Kurti to produce a reverse Baked Alaska (also called a "Frozen Florida")—a frozen shell of meringue filled with hot liquor.[5]

A variation called Bombe Alaska calls for some dark rum to be splashed over the Baked Alaska. Lights are then turned down and the whole dessert is flambéed while being served.[6]

The process was simplified in 1974 by Jacqueline Halliday Diaz, who invented a baking pan for Baked Alaska that forms a fillable hollow in the cake that may be filled with ice cream.[citation needed]

Flame on the Iceberg is a popular dessert in Hong Kong, similar to Baked Alaska in Western cuisine. 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.[7] Decades ago, the delicacy was served only in high-end hotel restaurants, but today it is commonly served in many Western restaurants and even in some cha chaan teng.

See also[edit]