How negligent of me dear reader! I haven’t posted a recipe in AGES. I admit to being sidetracked by Zeph and my trip back to Oz. But let me redeem myself.

We had some guests over for dinner last week and I thought I’d whip up a Bombe Alaska – a favourite of the 1970s. I was ferreting through my mother’s recipes and found a pretty simple one. Bombe Alaska is a rather vivid childhood memory for me because my Dad once set fire to one. Well, not quite but this spectacular dessert is usually flavoured with liqueur and you pour brandy over the finished Bombe and set it alight. That’s when things went a little wrong for my Dad – too much brandy I suspect and with curtains very near to the dining table…..well, let’s just say the fire brigade was nearly called out.

So I decided to omit the “meringue on fire” part of this dessert. I used a combination of French Vanilla and Chocolate ice creams but frankly I think you can toss in any ice cream you like. I reckon honey nougat would be fab. I used blueberries and toasted almonds in the Bombe because that’s all I had in the pantry and wanted to give the Bombe a bit of a twist. But you don’t have to include anything other than ice cream really. You could just serve it with a wonderful caramel sauce (such as the Cahills Caramel sauce I recreated) or any other variation you like.

Here’s what you need:

1 x sponge cake or madeira cake (you can use this recipe from the 1940s for the sponge cake)

1 Litre ice cream

4 egg whites

2 tablespoons caster sugar

Frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries – or whatever fruit you like

1/2 cup toasted flaked almonds or any other nuts you like

2 tablespoons jam – raspberry or strawberry – or 2 tablespoons of Marsala or your favourite liqueur

  • Line a 23cm tin with baking paper and cover the base with the sponge cake. Just cut the sponge to fit, doesn’t need to be perfect.
  • Spread jam over or drizzle with liqueur.
  • Cover with a layer of ice cream. To spread easily, just whack the tub of ice cream in hot water for about 10 seconds, then the ice cream should slip out of the tub. Here’s where you can get inventive – a layer of vanilla ice cream, then a layer of chocolate and so on.
  • Scatter frozen berries and toasted almonds over the ice cream layer OR you can omit this step.
  • Whack your Bombe base into the freezer for a few hours. It must be rock hard.
  • When ready to prepare, crank oven up to 250ºC/482 ºF.
  • Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar, beating to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved and the meringue is standing stiff.
  • Get your Bombe base out of the freezer and transfer to a heatproof plate.
  • Spoon meringue over the base making sure the ice cream is completely covered. Covering the ice cream helps insulate it from the blast of heat you’re about to subject it to – so make sure you can’t see any ice cream.
  • You can go wild at this point and pile the meringue on so it’s like a tower.
  • Whack in oven for 5 minutes BUT make sure you watch it carefully. You want the meringue to be lightly-browned not cremated.

If you want the “flaming meringue”, take the Bombe out of the oven when meringue is lightly-browned. Get 3 tablespoons of brandy and pour over top of the Bombe. Ignite with a match and watch your guests cower in fear. Just be very, very careful that you’re not near any flammable materials.

Bombe Alaska base with sponge and ice cream layer, blueberries and toasted almond flakes.

Just out of oven - you want a lightly-browned meringue.

Crap iPhone shot but you get the idea of how yummy this dessert can be.