Minty Fresh Alaska Iceberg
Baked Alaska is always a showstopper and this is no exception. The cakey texture of the ice-cream sandwiches will have people baffled as to how you made it without an oven. You can find ice-cream sandwiches in many supermarkets. The meringue layer here is toasted rather than fully cooked – it's totally delicious but not suitable for very young children, pregnant women or anyone frail.
You will need
750ml mint ice cream
8 x 100ml rectangular ice-cream sandwiches (ideally 13cm x 4.5cm, but see Essential kit)
5 egg whites
275g caster sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
¼ tsp peppermint extract
900g loaf tin (about 23cm x10cm or roughly twice the length and width of your ice cream sandwiches).
Heatproof and freezer-proof serving plate (slightly longer and wider than the loaf tin).
Piping bag with plain 1.5cm nozzle or disposable piping bag snipped to this size opening.
Blowtorch or grill
Allow the mint ice cream to soften until easily spreadable. Meanwhile, line the tin with a double layer of cling film, allowing a 10cm excess to hang over the edges.
Once soft, spoon the ice cream into the tin, compact it down and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Cover with the excess cling film and freeze for 1–2 hours until frozen solid. This can be prepared up to a few months in advance.
When ready to assemble, lay two ice-cream sandwiches beside each other at one end of the serving plate, with the rectangles pointing in the same direction as the plate. Follow with another two sandwiches on the other half of the plate. Unwrap the frozen mint ice-cream block and sit it on top. Arrange the remaining four ice-cream sandwiches on top of that. Cover and return to the freezer.
Whisk the egg whites in a food mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar in stages, continuing to whisk. Add the vinegar and peppermint extract and continue to whisk until really stiff and glossy. Spoon into the piping bag, which you may have to refill once or twice. Pipe meringue peaks in neat rows all over the sides and top of the ice-cream loaf.
Alternatively, simply spread it on with a palette knife, creating whatever pattern you like.
Use a blowtorch to brown the meringue all over or toast briefly under a hot grill. Serve at once, decorated with pretty bunting if you like. Cut into 10 even-sized slices. This is best done with a long sharp knife, dipped in boiling water and wiped dry between each cut. The meringue doesn't freeze well so this is best eaten on the same day.