When pastry chef Nadine Donovan and chef-owner Justin Brunson first brainstormed desserts for Old Major‘s menu, they quickly arrived at baked Alaska. “We wanted to do American classics. We wanted to bring nostalgia—and baked Alaska is old school,” Donovan says. The traditional confection, a wizard-like combination of sponge cake and ice cream encased in meringue and baked in the oven, allegedly originated in 1876 at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City. “I’ve always been fascinated with baked Alaska,” says Donovan. “It’s crazy for someone to come up with the idea of putting ice cream in the oven.”
But order the treat at Old Major (the restaurant opened in LoHi on February 24) and you’ll find a modernized version of the classic: Donovan swaps citrus-y olive oil cake for the sponge cake and frozen blood orange mousse for the ice cream. Those two tiers are topped (not encased) with a cloud of blow-torched meringue. Final effects come from dollops of citrus foam and a drizzle of sweet-tart pomegranate molasses.
As a whole, the dessert is light and citrusy, but the star of the show is the olive oil cake. “It’s probably my most prized recipe,” Donovan says. Watch for the baked Alaska to become a shape-shifter and change flavors with the seasons. “I’m thinking pistachio next.”
3316 Tejon St., 720-420-0622
—Photo by Rachel Nobrega
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