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Nancy’s Summer Pudding Alaska

A delicious dessert from the great British bake off's Big Book of Baking. This Summer Pudding Alaska from baking champion Nancy Birtwhistle is a perfect sweet treat for a sunny summers day. Made of three different ice creams set on an almond sponge, with home-made jam and finished with a piped Italian meringue - YUM!

From the book


A glorious, impressive and wonderful summer dessert made of three different ice creams set on an almond sponge, with home-made jam and finished with a piped Italian meringue.

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For the forest berry ice cream:
400g frozen mixed forest berries
100g caster sugar
1½ tbsp crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
225g double cream chilled
For the strawberry and mint ice cream:
250g fresh ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
1-2 mint leaves (to taste)
50g icing sugar
½ juice of a lemon
1 tsp crème de framboises (raspberry liqueur)
½ x 410g can of evaporated milk, chilled overnight
For the vanilla parfait:
2 large free range yolks at room temperature
50g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla paste
150ml double cream, well chilled
For the sponge base:
2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
50g caster sugar
50g plain flour
20g ground almonds
few drops of almond extract

Essential kit

You will need a food processor and an electric mixer or a rotary whisk.


1 Make the 3 ice cream mixtures first, so they have plenty of time to freeze (do this the day before if possible). Line the largest freezer-proof bowl with clingfilm – this will hold and shape the forest berry ice cream. Cover the outsides of the other 2 bowls with clingfilm – these will be used to form the shapes that will eventually be filled with the other 2 mixtures. Clear space in the freezer.

2 To make the forest berry ice cream, put the berries and sugar into a food processor and blitz to make a purée. Pressthrough a sieve into a bowl. Stir in the crème de cassis and cream. Taste and add more sugar or cassis as needed. Pour the mixture into the ice-cream maker and churn until firm. Spoon the ice cream into the largest freezer-proof bowl and make a hollow for the middle-sized bowl. Fit in this clingfilm-covered bowl. Cover and freeze for 4 hours until very firm.

3 Now make the strawberry ice cream. Put the strawberries, mint, sugar and lemon juice into a food processor and blitz to make a smooth purée. Press through a sieve into a bowl and stir in the crème de framboises. Pour the chilled evaporated milk into a chilled bowl and whisk with an electric mixer or rotary whisk until very thick and mousse-like. Stir in the strawberry mixture, then taste – you may want to add a little more sugar, lemon juice or crème de framboises. Pour into the (cleaned) ice-cream maker and churn until firm.

4 Using the clingfilm to help you, lift out the bowl set in the middle of the forest berry ice cream. Spoon the strawberry ice cream into the hollow, then make a hollow in the middle big enough to fit in the smallest freezer-proof bowl. Carefully place the clingfilm-covered small bowl into the hollow. You want the levels of both ice creams to match up, so they will make a flat surface when they are all fitted together. Cover with clingfilm and return to the freezer. Freeze for about 3 hours until firm.

5 For the vanilla parfait, put the yolks, sugar and vanilla paste into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water). Whisk with an electric mixer or a rotary whisk until the mixture is very thick and will leave a ribbon-like trail when the whisk is lifted from the bowl Remove the bowl from the pan and whisk until the mixture cools to room temperature

6 In another, larger bowl, whip the cream until it will form soft peaks. Add the yolk mixture and whisk on the slowest speed just to combine. Lift out the small bowl (with its clingfilm) set inside the strawberry ice cream and completely fill the hollowwith the vanilla parfait mixture. Level the surface, cover with clingfilm and freeze.

7 Meanwhile, make the sponge base. Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the eggs and sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until the mixture is very thick and mousse-like, and will make a ribbon-like trail when the whisk is lifted. Sift the flour and ground almonds into the bowl, add the almond extract and gently fold in. Transfer the mixture to the prepared sandwich tin and spread evenly. Bake in the heated oven for about 12 minutes until the sponge is golden and will spring back when gently pressed in the centre. Turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.

8 To make the jam, put the berries in the food processor and blitz to make a smooth purée. Press through a sieve into a small pan. Stir in the sugar, then set over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil gently for 7–10 minutes until the mixture is thick and jammy. Pour into a heatproof bowl and leave to cool, then cover and keep in the fridge until needed.

9 Once the ice cream bombe is frozen you can assemble the dessert. Set the large piping bag fitted with the large star tube into the neck of an empty bottle (one with a fairly wide neck, like a milk bottle), then pull down the sides of the bag so it is inside out (apart from the very end stuck in the bottle neck). With a pastry brush or paintbrush, paint 3 good stripes of berry jam down the inside of the piping bag. Turn the bag up the right way and leave it on one side until you’ve made the meringue.

10 Set the sponge base on a card cake board. Spread the rest of the jam over the sponge. Invert the bowl of ice cream on to the sponge and lift off the bowl and the clingfilm. Return the ice cream on its sponge base, uncovered, to the freezer.

11 To make the meringue, put the sugar and water into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Meanwhile, put the egg whites into a large heatproof bowl (or a free-standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) and whisk with an electric mixer (or in the free-standing mixer) until just frothy.

12 Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat, put the sugar thermometer into the syrup and boil until it reaches 120°C. Now carry on whisking the whites until they are stiff. When the syrup has reached 129°C, remove the pan from the heat. Carefully pour the hot syrup on to the whites in a thin steady stream while whisking at full speed (take care not to splash yourself or the sides of the bowl). After all the syrup has been added, continue whisking until the meringue has cooled down to room temperature.

13 Using an off-set palette knife, quickly cover the whole dessert – ice cream and sponge – with a thin covering of meringue. Put it back in the freezer for 5 minutes while you fill the piping bag with the remaining meringue. Now quickly cover the whole thing with small piped ‘kisses’ – the flashes of jam will suggest a leaking of juice.

14 Use a kitchen blowtorch to tinge the top of each meringue kiss a golden brown. Return the dessert, uncovered, to the freezer and keep it there until ready to serve.

15 To finish, set the Alaska on a cake stand and decorate with fresh berries, mint and strawberry leaves, and flaked almonds. Serve immediately.

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From the book: The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking

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