Shortly after I got married, I purchased the Joy of Cooking. It is one of those fancy schmancy cookbooks, but also covers all the basics. I started making different things out of it and started to learn a few of the basic baking skills.....one of those skills that now I LOVE to make is meringue. It is fascinating to me that you can simply take egg whites, beat them for a few minutes, and you get this amazing white cloud. It is such a beautiful thing and VERY difficult to mess up. About this same time I came across a recipe for a Baked Alaska Pie in the Lion House cookbook. I just knew I had to try it.....just to see if it would really work. I mean you must be crazy to even consider putting frozen ice cream in a 500 degree oven. That is when my love of meringue grew even more. That simple cloud layer keeps the ice cream from melting and makes the entire pie look gorgeous. Baked Alaska can be made a lot of different ways. Some have brownie as the base; some use a cake layer; any flavor of ice cream can be used, or a combination. This particular recipe is a favorite and simple to whip up.
1 9" baked pie shell
1 quart peppermint ice cream
1/4 c. chocolate syrup
4 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. sugar
Spoon ice cream into pie shell. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. Place in freezer until ready to use.
Heat oven to 500. Beat egg white, vanilla, and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually beat in sugar until mixture is stiff and glossy. Completely cover ice cream in pie shell with meringue, sealing well to the edge of the crust and piling high (this is very important. If the meringue is not sealed to the crust it will shrink away as it bakes). Pie may be frozen up to 24 hours at this point.
When ready to serve, bake pie on lowest oven rack for 3-5 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Serve immediately, or return to freezer until ready to serve.