Bombe Alaska is a spectacular dessert that is a real show-stopper.
It requires perfect timing but the results are well worth it. Geoff Jansz shares his easy tips and own special ‘flare’ in creating this truly impressive ice-cream dessert that is cold on the inside and hot on the outside!
- 1 plain sponge cake (homemade or bought)
- 2 tablespoons Marsala (or your favourite liqueur)
- 2 tubs of gourmet ice-cream (Buy different flavours. Geoff used Ranieri vanilla and chocolate ice-cream)
- 3 egg whites
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons brandy to ignite
The frozen part of this dessert can be prepared ahead of time, leaving only the meringue layer to be completed before serving. Allow about 10 minutes to organise the sponge base and ice-cream layers prior to freezing. Before serving your dessert, allow around 10-15 minutes to complete the meringue, create the final look of your bombe alaska and cook. Place the sponge cake onto a plate. Cut the sponge into a round shape by using the lid of the ice-cream tub as a template, brush away the crumbs and drizzle Marsala over the cake disc. This will form the base of the bombe alaska.
Most people would just use one tub of ice-cream but Geoff uses two flavours to create a superb effect. Dip the ice-cream tubs into warm water for about 10 seconds then turn them out onto a plate. Both tubs of ice-cream should slide out quite easily. Cut the ice-cream into discs. Geoff cut the ice-cream into 3-4cm (1-1.5″) slices. Put the first disc onto the sponge then layer the ice-cream, alternating the flavours, until the bombe is as tall as you like but you must allow at least 5 or 6cm (about 2-2.5″) spare so it will fit comfortably into the oven. Also take into consideration that it has to fit upright into your freezer. Press together firmly and put into the freezer immediately for at least 20 minutes or until it is rock-hard.
As soon as the ice-cream goes into the freezer (or 20 minutes prior to your estimated time of cooking), turn the oven to very hot, 200-220°C.
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until the meringue stands stiff. Remove the sponge and ice-cream tower from the freezer, then spoon the meringue over the top, completely covering the ice-cream. Place into the very hot oven for just 3 minutes, or until the meringue is just set and lightly colouring.
Finally, just before serving, pour the brandy over the top of the meringue and ignite it with a match. Warning: take care with this operation, as flames are dangerous indoors. Never, ever overdo the brandy, and be careful of nearby flammable items such as curtains, paper light-fittings, people wearing flammable garments, etc. Make sure that the dish containing the meringue can hold the brandy, to avoid spillage over the side. And, if you want to omit the “flaming meringue” show altogether, that’s fine. It won’t detract greatly from the delicious finale, and it will be a lot safer!
Tips: make sure everything is very cold and the ice-cream is set very hard before covering it with the meringue. And keep a close eye on the meringue, and your kitchen clock, when baking the meringue. It can go from white to brown very quickly.