‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten Makes a Fancy Restaurant Dessert Simple With Easy Store-Bought Shortcuts

Ina Garten is a pro at taking fancy meal ideas and creating simple recipes that anyone can make. She often says that store-bought ingredients are fine to get the job done, too. In the case of the Barefoot Contessa star’s raspberry baked Alaska recipe, you can make the fancy restaurant dessert with her easy shortcuts.

Ina Garten smiles as she arrives at 'Ina Garten in Conversation with Danny Meyer'
Ina Garten | Noam Galai/WireImage

Ina Garten simplified a dramatic restaurant dessert

Garten posted a photo of her baked Alaska dessert on Instagram in 2019, writing, “I saved the most dramatic summer dessert for last — Raspberry Baked Alaska! It may look like a fancy restaurant dessert but I’ve simplified it so you can make it at home.”

“It’s vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet covered in meringue and served with my fresh raspberry sauce,” she added. “Your guests will be over the moon!!”

While demonstrating how to make the raspberry baked Alaska recipe on Barefoot Contessa, Garten said “the result is a total wow.” The best part is there’s no complicated recipe to achieve that “wow” factor.

RELATED: Ina Garten’s Brownies Recipe Uses This ‘Magic’ Ingredient She Says Enhances the Chocolate Flavor

Ina Garten’s baked Alaska recipe uses store-bought ingredients

The recipe uses some store-bought shortcuts to make it even easier, with pound cake as the base. There’s ice cream and sorbet in the middle and it’s all topped with meringue.

“You can make your own pound cake,” Garten said, adding, “But why would you?” She begins by slicing the pound cake into ½ inch thick pieces and uses a round cutter to punch out the pieces for each portion. She tops the rounds with a ½ scoop of vanilla ice cream and a ½ scoop of raspberry sorbet.

“I love raspberries and cream so this is a good combination,” she explained during her demonstration.

After scooping the ice cream/sorbet combination onto each round of pound cake, she freezes them on a sheet pan for 30 minutes.

The baked Alaska dessert has a ‘dramatic’ topping

While they’re in the freezer, Garten makes swiss meringue, which she calls “so dramatic.”

The meringue involves two steps. First, she combines egg whites and sugar in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and whisks it constantly until a candy thermometer reads 120 degrees.

Garten then puts the mixture in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, adding vanilla, salt, and cream of tartar, and beating it on medium speed for one minute. She whisks the mixture on high for five minutes “until the egg whites form stiff glossy peaks.”

Garten finishes assembling her dessert by placing the meringue on top of each pound cake/ice cream/sorbet round and using an offset spatula to completely cover it. She bakes them in a 500 degree Fahrenheit oven for 2 ½ to 3 minutes.

Garten makes an easy fresh raspberry sauce for the dessert. “The best part is, one of the key ingredients is store-bought,” she explained.

She combines fresh raspberries in a saucepan over medium heat with sugar and water, bringing it to a boil, then simmering it at low heat for four minutes. Garten blends the mixture in a food processor, adding store-bought seedless raspberry jam and raspberry liqueur until it’s smooth.

After removing the baked Alaskas from the oven, the Barefoot Contessa star makes a circle of the raspberry sauce on a plate and places the dessert in the middle. “It’s really restaurant food at home,” she noted. “But with store-bought ingredients, it’s really easy.”

You can find the full recipe on the Food Network website.