The most common claim about the name "Baked Alaska" is that it was coined at Antoine's, a restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, by its chef de cuisine Antoine Alciatore in 1867 to honor the acquisition by the United States of Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 10 that year. However, no contemporary account exists of this fact, and the name would not be used until some years after the Alaska Purchase. Ranhofer himself called the dish an "Alaska, Florida" in 1894, apparently referring to the contrast between its cold and hot elements. The dish is also known as an "omelette la norvgienne" or "Norwegian omelette", which similarly refers to the cold climate of Norway.
Other names for the dish are glace au four and omelette surprise. A similar dessert in Hong Kong is known as flame on the iceberg.
The dish is made of ice cream placed in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas pudding and topped with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven for a brief time, long enough to firm and caramelize the meringue. The meringue is an effective thermal insulator, and the short cooking time prevents the heat from getting through to the ice cream and melting it.
The process for making baked Alaska was simplified in 1974 by Jacqueline Halliday Diaz, who invented a baking pan that forms a fillable hollow in the cake that may be filled with ice cream.
In 1969, the recently invented microwave oven enabled Hungarian physicist and molecular gastronomist Nicholas Kurti to produce a reverse baked Alaska (also called a "Frozen Florida")a frozen shell of meringue filled with hot liquor.
A variation called bombe Alaska calls for some dark rum to be splashed over the baked Alaska. The whole dessert is flambed while being served.
Flame On the Iceberg is a popular dessert in Hong Kong that is similar to baked Alaska. The dessert is an ice-cream ball in the middle of a sponge cake, with cream on the top. Whisky and syrup are poured over the top and the ball set alight before serving. Decades ago, the delicacy was served only in high-end hotels, but today it is commonly served in many Western restaurants and even in some cha chaan teng.
Thurgood Jenkins and his friends Brian and Scarface are forced into selling marijuana stolen from the lab where Thurgood works as a "master of the custodial arts". They do this in order to bail their friend Kenny out of jail for $100,000 after he accidentally kills Buttercup, a diabetic police horse, by feeding it junk food. Their business, named Mr. Nice Guy in honor of their good-natured friend, becomes immensely popular, even attracting famous clientele. Thurgood's personal life is ruined once his adamantly anti-drug girlfriend, Mary Jane Potman, discovers that he is Mr. Nice Guy.
Soon, all of their lives are in danger once Samson Simpson, a local drug lord, learns that Mr. Nice Guy is costing him business, including his former client, rapper Sir Smoke-a-Lot. He threatens to kill them if they do not pay him $20,000 every week. Brian buys a pouch that is supposed to contain the ashes of Jerry Garcia with some of the money they are making, and Scarface buys a rottweiler named Killer.
Thurgood tells police about a future meeting he has with Samson Simpson after they arrest him for stealing marijuana from the laboratory. The police agree to drop the charges if Thurgood wears a wire, that way they can get the proof they need to arrest the drug lord. Before the guys go into Samson's home they smoke a joint in the police van. The cops get high from the second hand smoke. The cops tell them to say "abracadabra" when they have purchased the drugs. During the interview, Samson discovers that Thurgood is wearing a wire and is about to kill them. They scream "abracadabra" into the wire to try to get the cops to save them. But the cops are high from second-hand smoke and busy mocking a letter Thurgood wrote to Mary Jane. A fight breaks out with Samson and his army of women. Brian throws the pouch he bought earlier on the ground. The ghost of Jerry Garcia emerges and hits Samson with a guitar, knocking him out. The police then rush in and recover all of the drugs, and arrest Samson after he wakes up. Thurgood, Brian, and Scarface's deal with the police works to get Kenny a pardon from jail. Thurgood gives up smoking and is able to win back Mary Jane, whose dad is a marijuana dealer.