fine food - Tom Aikens

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This month, Michelin-star-winning Head Chef Tom Aikens – one of Qatar Airways’ four culinary all-stars – shares some of his favourite recipes.

 

Baked Alaska

Ingredients

Meringue

  • 1,200g of caster sugar
  • 125ml of glucose
  • 280ml of water
  • 600g of egg whites

Panettone base

  • 1 large panettone

Vanilla ice cream

  • 500ml of milk
  • 250ml of double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split, with scraped out and reserved
  • 5ml of vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 150g of sugar


Method

  1. For the vanilla ice cream, heat the milk, cream, vanilla seeds, vanilla essence, salt and 75g of the sugar in a pan. Bring to a simmer and once simmering cover with cling film and leave for 30 minutes to infuse.
  2. Bring back to the boil. Whisk the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar together, then pour the hot cream onto the yolks, whisking all the time.
  3. Transfer to a pan and cook out the custard until it easily coats the back of the spoon. Pass the mixture through a fine chinois into a bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Churn in an ice-cream maker and then freeze.

Churning ice cream and sorbet

If you turn the ice-cream maker on 5 minutes before churning, it will guarantee that the mixture being churned cools at a faster, more consistent rate. Check on the ice cream and sorbet as it churns and consult the ice-cream maker’s instruction manual before use.


  1. To make the baked Alaska, start with the meringue. Boil the sugar, glucose, and water to soft-ball stage or 116°C, using a sugar thermometer to gauge the process.
  2. As the sugar is coming up to temperature, begin to whisk the egg whites in a large food mixer on a medium to high speed.
  3. As soon as the sugar reaches 116˚C, remove from the heat and pour slowly into the egg whites, making sure not to start with the sugar until the whites begin to expand.
  4. Once all the sugar mixture has been added, adjust the whisk down to a low speed and allow it to continue until the egg whites cool. Place into a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle.
  5. Cut the base off the panettone to a 1.5cm thickness: this will be used for the bottom of the baked Alaska. Place the base piece of panettone at the bottom of an ovenproof dish.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Place 3 big scoops of ice cream into the middle of the panettone, each scoop touching each other to form a triangle.
  7. Pipe the meringue evenly around the ice cream being sure to fully cover the contents, including the base. Place into the oven for 5 minutes: remove to cool.
  8. Use a blowtorch to brown the top of the meringue, and serve your baked Alaska.
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