Baked Alaska is known by many names like Norwegian omelette and omelette surprise. It is basically an ice cream within a case which can be meringue, made of eggs and sugar, or pastry crust.
It later developed into a brown product, made so in a hot oven that consisted of an ice cream and sponge cake, cased in meringue.
Supposedly, Baked Alaska was founded by many and made popular by others.
According to a report in the LeRoy PennySaver & News by Lynne Belluscio, Thomas Jefferson presented ice cream in mildly hot pasty at one of the presidential banquets in 1802.
It was not called Baked Alaska then but the item was similar.
Jefferson’s banquets usually had ice creams in the menu and interestingly, the cold ice cream within the hot crust was made famous exactly by its contradiction.
Meringue is a blend of sugar and egg whites, baked in the oven. In other words, it qualifies as a patisserie item. Prosper Montagne in his Larousse Gastronomique speaks about the past of meringue, which he traces back to 1702.
It is believed to have been invented by Gasparini, a pastry cook in Merinyghen, Switzerland. The patisserie migrated to France where it caught the fancy of royalty such as King Stanislas and Queen Marie.
Omelette surprise, another version of Baked Alaska, was invented during an experiment by Benjamin T. Rumford, physicist and spy but also a passionate cook, to prove that whipped egg whites are poor conductors of electricity.
The Victorian Age saw the emergence of ice cream and related desserts as a high-society accompaniment for tea and dinners. The shaping of ice creams into ‘bombes’ was also made popular in this era. Meringue-covered desserts also gained prominence in the 1850s.
An 1855 cookbook named as The Philadelphia Housewife, explains that Apple Pie of Baked Alaska can be made by replacing the marmalade in the pie with ice cream. Baron L. Brise, in a column for Liberte in 1866, wrote that Baked Alaska had been first time introduced by Chef Balzac in France, after he learnt the preparation from some Chinese counterparts.
The process was to bake the dessert before the ice cream inside could melt. Also, science supports this as certain materials do not conduct heat very well.
Following this, there were references to variations of the dessert such as Alaska, Florida, German Steamer Baked Ice Cream, Baked Ice, Princesse Marie de Orleans Surprise Bombe, Norwegian omelette in many articles and books till finally the name Baked Alaska appeared for the first time in The Original Fannie Farmer 1896 Cookbook.