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Published: Tuesday, 11/7/2000

Mocha Baked Alaska

1 quart (4 cups) coffee-flavored ice cream

2 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers

4 tablespoons chocolate sundae syrup

4 large egg whites, or powdered egg whites plus water to equal 4 whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

dash of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sugar

Turn a 6-cup round bowl upside-down onto a cardboard cake circle; trim cardboard to 1/2 -inch larger than outer edge of bowl; set aside. Let ice cream stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to soften slightly.

Spray inside of bowl with cooking spray. Line bowl with about 26 lady finger halves, split surfaces turned upward. Ladyfingers may be overlapped or broken to completely cover bowl.

Working quickly, use one fourth of the ice cream to spread a layer over ladyfingers in bottom of bowl. Drizzle one tablespoon of chocolate syrup. Continue alternating layers, using one fourth of the ice cream and one tablespoon syrup each time.

Arrange about 15 ladyfinger halves, split side down, over top the ice cream. Fill any small openings with pieces of ladyfingers; press all firmly against ice cream. Cover tightly with foil and freeze overnight. Wrap remaining ladyfingers to seal and freeze for another use.

Set oven at 500 degrees and position rack below center of oven. Make meringue by beating egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla in medium bowl until frothy. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and continue beating until mixture forms stiff peaks and a path cut with a knife remains open. Quickly loosen Alaska and metal spatula and unmold onto cardboard cake circle.

Place on wooden board that will fit into oven and freezer. Set board on baking sheet. Spread meringue evenly over Alaska, being certain to seal meringue to board. Bake 4-5 minutes or until nicely browned.

Immediately freeze, unwrapped for 3 to 4 hours. Cut meringue loose from board. Use cake turner to help slide Alaska onto serving plate. Wrap tightly with a tent of heavy duty foil that does not touch meringue. Return Alaska to freezer.

Yield: 16 servings.

Source: Specialty Bakers, makers of ladyfingers

Family recipes were included in White House menus. Mamie Eisenhower's Spritz cookies were adapted with a raspberry filling by Chocolatier magazine.

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