- Food & Drink
The trouble with having curly hair is that I wake up most mornings looking like a Bichon Frisé that’s licked a socket. I have a halo of brambles that neither comb, mousse or hairspray can control.
This Medusan tangle is at its worst in winter. At night the dry heat given out by our puttering radiators rakes its way through my hair, creating frizz and fuzz. During the day I have to choose between jamming a hat on my head, forcing my hair to sag and wilt like an overburdened pot plant, or leave myself open to the elements – to every tug of cold air, splash of rain and drip of snow.
My hair rages against the weather. It stands up in shocked outrage. Occasionally I catch sight of myself in a window or mirror and briefly I wonder who that dumpy woman in a fright wig is. And then I realise. And then I twiddle and fiddle, vainly hoping my clown cap of curls will transform itself into a glossy Middletonesque mane.
No, winter is a terrible time of year for those of us with a more than passing resemblance to Shirley Temple. Which makes my enthusiasm for it puzzling. I love the lash of cold weather when I’m buttoned up in jumpers, thermals and coat. I love the contrast between the warmth at my core and the brittle cold that surrounds me.
Which leads us neatly to Baked Alaskas. Or rather, to the reverse of Baked Alaskas. Because Baked Alaskas have frozen hearts that are wrapped up in a layer of warm, marshmallowy meringue – completely the opposite of me in my HeatTech long johns and frosted waterproofs. So that intro doesn’t really link to them at all. But it did feel good to share my complaints about my hair.
A ball of ice cream in a snug meringue jacket
200ml vanilla ice cream
150g Madeira cake
30g raspberry jam
2 medium egg whites
100g caster sugar
1 Soften the ice cream for 5 minutes or until it’s scoopable. Then scoop it into 4 (50ml) balls and place them on a baking tray. Freeze for 2 hours or until solid.
2 Stamp 4 (7cm) rounds from the Madeira cake. Spread with the raspberry jam. Lift the ice cream balls off the baking tray with a palette knife and place them on the sponges. Return the Alaskas to the freezer on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. They’ll keep well in the freezer for 24 hours prepared up to this stage.
3 When you’re ready to bake the Alaskas, preheat the oven to gas mark 8/230°C/fan oven 210°C. Whisk the egg whites in a dry, clean, grease-free bowl until opaque, stiff and thick. Whisk in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until all the sugar has been used and the meringue is glossy.
4 Working quickly, spoon the meringue over the ice cream and sponge and swirl to make sure they are completely covered. Bake for 3 minutes or until browned. Lift onto serving plates and serve straight away.