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Alaska in Heat

Baked Alaska is a delicious dessert made of ice cream placed in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas pudding and topped with meringue. Connoisseurs celebrate 1st day of February as Baked Alaska Day. Its name was coined at New York City's Delmonico's Restaurant in 1876 to honor the recently acquired American territory. Both the names 'Baked Alaska' and 'omelette à la norvégienne'/'Norwegian omelette' come from the low temperatures of Alaska and Norway. The Chinese first had the idea of a similar dessert, which used pastry instead of meringue. It was the French who brought in the meringue and made the actual first Baked Alaska, which they called omelette à la norvégienne ("Norwegian omelette").
Baked Alaska is also known as Glac au Four. It is a dessert made of ice cream placed in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas pudding & topped with uncooked meringue. Early version of this dessert consisted of ice cream encased in a piping hot pastry crust. A guest of Thomas Jefferson at a White House dinner in 1802 described the dessert as"Ice cream very good, crust wholly dried, crumbled into thin flakes." 
The other version is claimed as being created by many people & popularized by many others. American physicist  Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) claimed to have created in 1804, after investigating the heat resistances of beaten egg whites. And then there is the story of it being passed on to the French in the mid 19th century when a Chinese delegation was visiting Paris. The Master-cook of the Chinese mission was staying at the Grand Hotel in 1866 & the French chef at the Hotel Balzac learned how to bake ice cream in pastry crust in the oven from him. A variation called Bombe Alaska calls for some syrup to be splashed over the Baked Alaska.
The process of making Baked Alaska was simplified in 1974 by Jacqueline Halliday Diaz who invented a baking pan for Baked Alaska called Flinique that forms a fill-able hollow in the cake that may be filled with ice cream. In 1969, the recently invented microwave oven enable Hungarian physicist & molecular gastronomist Nicholas Kurti to produce a reverse Baked Alaska also called Frozen Florida
Flame on the Iceberg is a dessert popular 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. Syrup is poured over the top & the ball set alight before serving. Decades ago, the delicacy was served only in high-end hotel restaurants, but today it is commonly served in restaurants.


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