This recipe celebrates one of the first - and sweetest - harbingers of spring: local strawberries. Sure, the supermarket offers strawberries all year 'round, but the gems that are grown locally and show up in season boast way more flavor than their cousins from the other side of the world. What you're looking for is a bright red color from stem to tip.
These local heroes are perfect even if you eat them raw, but here I've gussied them up quite a bit with some borrowings from an old-fashioned dessert called Baked Alaska, the basics of which are spongecake and ice cream frosted with a thick layer of meringue and briefly set under the broiler. A generation ago, Baked Alaska was as much showbiz as it was dessert, doused in alcohol and set aflame just before your cruise-ship waiter paraded it through the dining room on a platter and landed it on your table with a flourish.