Baked Alaska recipe: A delicious constant in a changing world

Change used to be good. Remember? “Change is good” championed motion indiscriminately. But times change. Now we prefer to stay put. “It is what it is” celebrates stasis.

“Change” has changed. Consider “cell change.” Consider “climate change.” Change, once a lighthearted switch, now serves as grim euphemism. Change is not good. It’s bad, in disguise.

Times still change. Even the glib sorts who shrug at melting glaciers can change. Last December, everyone on earth — pretty much — agreed to cool climate change.

Baked Alaska

Prep: 30 minutes

Bake: 3 minutes

Makes: 8 servings

This glacier stays cold, even under broiling heat.

Pound cake (buy this)

Ice cream (buy this)

Meringue (make this — recipe follows)

Cut: Tip the pound cake on its side and slice into 1/2-inch thick planks, starting from the side that was originally the bottom. Use a biscuit cutter to cut eight 3-inch circles from these planks. Line up the circles on a baking sheet.

Freeze: Drop one classic dome-shaped scoop of ice cream on each circle, leaving 1/4-inch cake border bare. Freeze 1 hour or, covered with plastic, up to 1 day.

Cover: Smooth meringue all over the ice cream, leaving the cake sides bare. Go ahead and lavish with swirls and spikes — this is the fun of meringue. Feel free to freeze (uncovered) for several hours or move on to the next step.

Bake: Slide the baking sheet into a 500-degree oven just until the meringue turns golden brown, about 3 minutes. (Alternatively, use a kitchen torch.) Don’t worry; this process releases very little carbon. Enjoy right away.

Meringue: In the bowl of an electric mixer, briefly whisk 4 egg whites and 1 cup sugar. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until whites reach 165 degrees. Pull pan off the water. Use the whisk attachment of the mixer to whip to billowy, glossy peaks.