Baked Alaska with Tom Yam Herbs: Omelette Thaïlandaise


baked alaska recipe
In case you haven’t noticed, this is how things work around here. I come up with a crazy idea. What I do next is look to all the smart, talented people I know to take that idea and make something extraordinary out of it. Then, undeservedly, I get to witness the borderline deranged idea executed in a most brilliant manner. Time and time again, it has happened.

Recently, I started a new series wherein my blogger friends guest-post various creations that capture the essence of the three Tom Yam herbs: lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime. And, already, what I’ve seen so far has exceeded my expectation. Last month, we got a Thai pastry chef, Thip of Bonbini!, kicking off the series with Tom Yam-Flavored French Macarons. This month, we have a French chef giving birth to Omelette Thaïlandaise by infusing his version of omelette à la norvégienne, better known in the US as Baked Alaska, with the Tom Yam herbs.

I’d like to introduce to you my next guest blogger in the series — the very funny, very talented, and très French gentleman who is responsible for all the great stuff that can be found on Zen Can Cook, one of the blogs I adore. Everybody, meet Zen Chef.

____________________

Hello, She Simmers readers!

I’ll try not to make a mess during my short stay here and to show you how much I care. I promised to sweep the floor before I leave. I want no crumbs to get in the way of our new friendship.

Let’s kick off this post with the meaning of Omelette Thaïlandaise. And, by the way, I think this is a world premiere because I Googled it and there’s absolutely nothing on it.

The challenge posed by the lovely Leela was to create a delicious dessert that encapsulates the flavors of the Tom Yam trinity, namely galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. After meditating on it for way too long, I decided I would make a Baked Alaska, which we call Omelette Norvegienne in France, using a Swiss meringue and with a little detour to Thailand.

I see a lot of puzzled cyber-faces out there. I looked in the mirror and I look puzzled myself. What do Norway, Thailand, Alaska, France, and Switzerland have in common anyway?

Nothing! Nothing at all. And that’s a lot of countries to fit onto a 9-inch dessert plate. But with a little imagination everything is possible. Even this dessert.

  • It looks like an igloo, so we’ve got Norway and Alaska out of the way.
  • It’s made of a banana-galangal cake, a layer of mango ice cream and one of lemongrass ice cream and it’s flambé with vodka infused with kaffir lime leaves. You can cross Thailand off your list.
  • It’s got a Swiss Meringue. Yes, it does.
  • It was created by a Frenchman. And the vodka he used is … Grey Goose. [hic]
  • Don’t let this little trip around the world confuse you. One bite and the dominant flavors of lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime will win you over and transport you straight to Thailand on a little cloud. Also, remember that this dessert has so much visual impact and pleasing value that it will also win your friends over – as long as their clothes don’t catch fire during the delicate flambé process. So be careful, and enjoy!

    Now if you excuse me, I’ve got some blogkeeping to do.
    [picks up a broom and start sweeping]

    Omelette Thaïlandaise
    By Zen Chef of Zen Can Cook
    Serves 8
    Printable Version

    baked alaska recipe
    For the banana-galangal cake:
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup almond flour
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3/4 cup sugar
    1-inch chunk fresh galangal, grated on a microplane
    4 large eggs
    2 ripe bananas, mashed

    baked alaska recipe

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Butter a quarter-sheet pan.
  • Sift together the flour, almond powder, baking powder, and baking soda.
  • In a heavy-duty stand-mixer bowl, with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, olive oil, and sugar.
  • Increase the speed and add the eggs one at a time.
  • Mix in the mashed bananas.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared sheet pan.
  • Bake the cake for about 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  • Cool the cake completely.
  • With a pastry ring, cut out 8 rounds to use as the base for the Baked Thailand.
  • For the mango ice cream:
    2 cups heavy cream
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 lime
    2 or 3 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and cubed.

  • Place the mangoes in a food processor and make a purée.
  • Add the lime juice and sugar; process until smooth.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Freeze in an ice cream maker.
  • For the lemongrass ice cream:
    1 cup whole milk
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/2 cup sugar
    4 egg yolks
    3 stalks of fresh lemongrass, bruised and finely chopped

  • Place the milk, cream and lemongrass into a saucepan; bring to a boil and allow the mixture to steep for 1 hour.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl.
  • Bring the cream/lemongrass mixture to a simmer.
  • Slowly add 1/4 of the cream mixture into the eggs while whisking.
  • Once the eggs are tempered add them to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly.
  • Strain the custard. Let it cool, chill, and freeze in an ice cream maker.
  • For the Swiss Meringue:

    baked alaska recipe
    4 egg whites
    1 cup sugar

  • Combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer and place it over simmering water (bain-marie).
  • Whisk the mixture constantly until it reaches 110°F (just warm to the touch).
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and attach the bowl to the mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat until the meringue is cool, about 10 minutes.
  • For the Kaffir Lime-Vodka Flambé:
    1 cup vodka
    6 kaffir lime leaves

    baked alaska recipe

  • Bring the vodka and kaffir lime leaves to a simmer.
  • Remove from the heat and let it steep for 30 minutes.
  • When ready to flambé, bring the mixture back to a boil.
  • Carefully set the vodka mixture aflame with a match and pour it on the Omelette Thaïlandaise.
  • To assemble:

  • Place the 8 rounds of banana-galangal cake on a baking tray.
  • Top each with a layer of mango ice cream. With an ice cream scoop the same size as the banana cake rounds, scoop out the lemongrass ice cream and place it on top of the mango ice cream.
  • baked alaska recipe

  • Place everything in the freezer for at least one hour.
  • Fill a pastry bag, equipped with a star tip, with the Swiss meringue and pipe it all around and over the cake and ice-cream to cover completely.
  • baked alaska recipe

  • Freeze until ready to serve.
  • With a blowtorch, toast the meringue quickly and flambé with the Kaffir-Lime Vodka at the table.
  • All photographs are courtesy of Zen Can Cook.

    18 Responses to Baked Alaska with Tom Yam Herbs: Omelette Thaïlandaise

    1. essays May 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

      Look delicious.I’m sure I will love this recipe.

    2. Ginny May 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

      Gorgeous! Looks so delicious! 🙂

    3. doggybloggy May 6, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

      brilliant!

    4. Thip May 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

      At first, I thought you were going to make the ice-cream with all herbs together. I made green curry ice-cream once, but didn’t like it enough to make it again. 🙂
      I like the idea of flambe. It creates an impressive visual, and develop the flavor without adding the alcohol in it.

    5. OysterCulture May 6, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

      What a wonderful looking treat, I only wish I could get my hands on a piece here in SF. What an incredible array of flavors – a visual masterpiece surpassed only by the taste I am sure.

    6. 5 Star Foodie May 6, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

      Spectacular creation!

    7. The Short (dis)Order Cook May 6, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

      What a beautiful dessert! I would definitely like to see what having those flavors in a savory, rather than sweet, creation would taste like.

      It would be hard to recreate because 1. I am a klutz making pretty pastry and 2. I have a devil of a time finding those ingredients in my neck of the woods. Ah, the pleasures of living in suburbia.

    8. kitchentravels.com May 6, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

      At first I thought this was going to be a very complicated recipe. But the way ZC has broken it down, it seems like one could make it in multiple steps over the course of a couple days, then just torch and flambe it right before serving. Zen’s recipes are always delicious-looking!

    9. alittleyum May 6, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

      Very cool — a showstopper! I think I need to plan a dinner party pronto.

    10. nakebeet May 7, 2010 at 1:59 am #

      Seriously, where can I eat this??! Eventually, I will attempt this, just as soon as I learn how to pipe. Oy.

    11. KennyT May 7, 2010 at 2:35 am #

      Very skillful! I admire this!

    12. Chef Fresco May 7, 2010 at 3:04 am #

      Wow. That is seriously impressive! Looks way better than anything from a restaurant!

    13. Jo May 7, 2010 at 5:33 am #

      Oh wow! This is absolutely gorgeous and a work of art. Definitely a twist to the plain old Baked Alaska dessert. Brilliant!

    14. Fuji Mama May 7, 2010 at 5:46 am #

      That is one amazing creation!! Fabulous guest post!!

    15. Julia May 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

      I love the flavors, and of course the pictures, wonderful!

    16. M. May 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

      what a beautiful creation!! looks like a piece of artwork 🙂

    17. Arwen from Hoglet K May 12, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

      That’s one spectacular dessert! I love the idea of a banana galangal cake – it would do well as a stand-alone.

    18. Angry Asian June 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

      this is kinda genius.
      i’m intimidated. cus i have no idea what to do with these 3 ingredients.