Baked Alaska is all about contrast: There’s a warm, crunchy meringue exterior and a cold, soft ice cream interior. It’s no wonder, then, that the sauce for the Oleana dessert only amps up the dish’s two sides. The passion fruit caramel sauce from pastry chef Maura Kilpatrick and her team lends a tartness to counteract the meringue’s sweetness, and the overall simplicity of the sauce—it’s only made with three ingredients—is meant to let the complex-looking baked Alaska shine. Kilpatrick went for passion fruit in an effort to complement the dish’s coconut ice cream, but she suggests it goes well with any flavor of ice cream. She’s likely on to something: The dish has been around since Oleana opened in 2001.
YIELD: 1 1/2 cups
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/3 cups passion fruit nectar (or puree)
1 teaspoon salt
PREPARATION: Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns golden to amber, but you can still see through the caramel color. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the passion fruit nectar. (Be careful as the caramel will bubble up and splatter.) Return to low heat and remelt caramel if necessary, until smooth. Stir in the salt and let cool completely before serving.
Oleana 134 Hampshire St., Cambridge (617-661-0505) oleanarestaurant.com
SAUCE: Passion Fruit Caramel Sauce | Black Garlic and Sweet Miso Tomato Sauce | BBQ sauce | Steak Sauce | Strawberry Habanero Sauce