When my dad was growing up, my granddad took him and his brothers and sisters to Dublin Zoo on a cold winter's day. They had brought bags of bananas and monkey nuts to feed the monkeys and were throwing the food over the iced enclosure. One stray banana landed on the ice and suddenly the monkeys realised they could walk across the ice, leading them to charge my granddad and his kids, attacking them for the food. Hence the inspiration for this nutty baked Alaska...
- 1 litre vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
- For the Peanut Butter Brownie Base
- 150g butter
- 50g peanut butter
- 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
- 275g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- For the Meringue
- 6 large egg whites
- 300g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4 and grease and line a 20cm diameter springform tin with baking parchment.
- For the peanut butter brownie base, melt the butter, peanut butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water. When melted, remove the bowl from the heat.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs until they are pale and fluffy. Fold through the melted chocolate mixture and the vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold through.
- Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 35 minutes until there is only a slight wobble in the centre. Remove from the oven and set aside on a wire rack until cooled completely. Peel off the baking parchment.
- Line a 2 litre (about 16.5cm in diameter) freezerproof bowl with cling film, leaving enough to hang over the sides and press the softened ice cream into it. Place the brownie base on top and cover with the cling film overhang. Place in the freezer to firm up for at least 1 hour (although it will last in the freezer for up to a month). When you are ready to assemble the Baked Alaska, preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F), Gas Mark 9.
- To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a standing food mixer (or use an electric hand-held mixer in a bowl) and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to whisk until you have soft, silky white peaks. Set aside.
- Remove the ice cream and brownie base from the freezer, peel the cling film off the top of the bowl and then turn the ice cream and brownie base out onto a baking sheet, using the cling film to help you.
- Peel off the remaining cling film and then spread the meringue mix all over the outside of the brownie and ice cream dome.
- Place it in the oven to bake for 3 minutes until the meringue is slightly golden. This could also be done with a chef's blowtorch. Serve straight away in generous slices.