Brown butter is truly wonderful. It's butter that is melted and cooked until the dairy turns a deep golden. After a few minutes, you are left with the aroma of toasted nuts.
The first time I made brown butter was for Julia Child's recipe for madeleines (I'm pretty sure it's in this book, but I could be completely wrong), which called for brown butter for both the cake-y-cookie batter, and for buttering the madeleine tins. The recipe for her madeleines is great and worked like a charm (even for I, in 2004, a novice baker who had never made browned butter, nor baked madeleines before!). I haven't attempted either the madeleines, or the brown butter since then.
This batch of brown butter was destined for the brown butter pound cake from Gourmet 2009 (Gourmet, I miss you so much!).
The pound cake was a cinch to prepare once the brown butter was cooled enough to use. Since I had lots of desserts to prepare with the cake, I opted to divide the cake batter among 2 muffin tins. This way, I ended up with 12 neat, mini pound cakes, perfect for transforming into individual baked Alaskas. The pound cake muffins took 25 minutes to bake up at the recommended oven temperature.
I find that meringue topping can be a bit overwhelming if it is paired with a sweet dessert. So instead of opting for a traditional vanilla ice cream for the baked Alaskas, I was inspired by lemon meringue pie, and I opted for lemon ice cream as the filling. This was sheer brilliance. My baked Alaskas tasted just like a frozen lemon meringue pie! Here are some pics from the baked-Alaska-assembly-process.
Here are my sliced pound cake muffins, topped with lemon ice cream, which I pre-froze in plastic wrap lined muffin tins so that they would fit perfectly on my pound cake muffin bottoms (I ate the tops that I sliced off. Waste not, want not!).
I topped each with a nice mound of meringue.
The sources for this recipe were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop.”