Gear?id Lynch's Gluten-Free Rhubarb Baked Alaska
This dessert is truly delightful and perfect if you want to impress guests. The key to this recipe is to have all of the different elements ready, and then assembly is straightforward. This recipe makes more compote and sponge than you'll need, but as both can be frozen, you can save them for another day.
For the rhubarb compote
450g rhubarb, cut into 0.5cm dice
150g caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
For the sponge
90g caster sugar
70g gluten-free self-raising flour
For the meringue
3 large eggs whites (100g egg whites)
150g caster sugar
good-quality vanilla ice cream
icing sugar, to dust
First prepare the rhubarb compote by mixing all of the compote ingredients together in a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight to allow the juices to run. The next day, bring the rhubarb mixture to the boil in a small saucepan, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, taking care not to overcook the rhubarb as you want it to retain its shape. Pour into a container until required. Scoop the ice cream into balls ahead of time and place on a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Put in a container and put them back in the freezer, ready for assembly.
Preheat the oven to 180?C. Line a large rectangular baking tin (ideally one that is 20cm x 30cm x 5cm deep) with non-stick baking paper. To make the sponge, place the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat together with an electric mixer for about 10 minutes, until it reaches the ribbon stage and the mixture holds a figure of eight. Sieve the flour and cornflour into a separate bowl. Using a metal spoon, gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, ensuring they are well combined. Carefully pour the sponge batter into the lined tin and bake for 25 minutes, until the sponge starts to shrink away from the sides of the tin and the centre springs back when you press it. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a board and peel off the paper. Using a round 5cm cutter, stamp out your sponge discs - you should get 22 discs.
To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a spotlessly clean, grease-free bowl to the soft peak stage, until they are light and stiff. Gradually add the sugar, whisking continuously on a medium speed. Once all the sugar has been added, whisk at a high speed for about 2 minutes, until the meringue is glossy. Fill the meringue into a clean, dry piping bag with a nozzle and set aside.
To assemble the baked Alaska, place the sponge discs on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Spoon a little rhubarb compote over each sponge disc, ensuring it is well moistened with the rhubarb syrup. Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, then pipe the meringue all over the ice cream and sponge, ensuring it's completely covered with meringue. Alternatively, you could use a spoon to cover the sponge with meringue, making peaks with the back of the spoon. Dust with icing sugar and bake for 1-2 minutes, until the meringue is set and slightly coloured. Serve immediately.
The sponge and the rhubarb can be prepared in advance - both freeze very well if you really want to get a good head start.
Extracted from My Gluten-Free Kitchen by Gear?id Lynch (Gill Books, €24.99), out April 22.