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Made of a layer of cake topped with ice cream, coated with uncooked meringue and baked in the oven just long enough to allow the meringue to become crisp before the ice cream melts. When cooked, the meringue may be doused in brandy and set alight. It’s thought that the idea was invented by the Chinese, who baked ice cream wrapped in pastry. The French adapted the idea, but replaced the pastry with meringue to make omelette norvégienne, but it was the Americans who coined the name ‘baked Alaska’.