Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's the Bombe!

My Strawberry Bombe Alaska
To celebrate the end of Series 3 of MasterChef, I thought I'd go a bit outside my comfort zone, and add a bit of MasterChef pressure to my kitchen! I thought I'd try a version on Bombe Alaska. Now the MasterChef recipe looks fantastic, with coconut ice cream, cherry sorbet and a 10 egg yolk sponge, which is really a bit much for my busy weekend, so I searched around for a slightly easier version. It turned out pretty hard to find a less complex version where you actually make all the components. If I am going to the trouble of using a sugar thermometer and a blow torch on my creation, I at least want to know I've put the effort into the easy parts myself! Here is my Strawberry Bombe Alaska:

The Ice Cream and Sponge should be made in advance so they have time to cool (and freeze into the bombe shape in the case of the ice cream) so actually, this is quite a good dessert for a dinner party as it looks impressive and can be prepared before the guests have arrived! The gadgets I use are an ice cream maker, food processor, sugar thermometer and a blow torch. It is much easier with these, but I'm sure possible without (although a sugar thermometer is crucial for getting the Italian meringue right.)

Strawberry Ice Cream
1 cup of milk
1 cup of cream
4 egg yolks
½ cup of caster sugar

Strawberry puree
500g strawberries
1/3 cup of caster sugar

Sponge Base
62g butter
Dash of vanilla essence
¼ cup caster sugar
1 egg
¾ cup self raising flour 
1/6 cup of milk
1 tbsp brandy

Italian Meringue
4 egg whites
1 ½ cups caster sugar

Make the Ice Cream (I did this the night before)
Heat the milk and the cream until almost boiling;
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and ribbony;
Whisk the milk mixture into the egg yolks, then quickly put back on the stove in a clean saucepan;
Stir until thick and coats the back of the spoon;
Cool the custard (to prevent a skin forming on the top, rest some cling film over the surface of the custard).
Meanwhile, whizz up the hulled strawberries in a food processor, then pass through a sieve to remove the seeds;
Heat in a pan with 1/3 cup caster sugar and reduce till you have around 1 cup of puree;
Cool the puree.

Make the Sponge
While you're waiting for the ice cream components to cool, start on the sponge base. Preheat the oven to 180º; 
Grease and line a 20 cm round baking tin;
In the food processor, beat butter and vanilla essence until light in colour, add the sugar and beat till creamy;
Add one egg and beat till combined;
Add 1/2 of the flour and beat, then 1/2 the milk and beat till combined; 
Add the remainder of the flour, beat and then add the remainder of the milk and beat till combined and has formed a smooth mixture;
Scrape the mixture in the prepared baking tin and bake in the preheated oven until lightly golden (about 15 min in my oven) and a skewer comes out clean;
Remove from oven, and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Churn and freeze the ice cream
When the ice cream mixtures (custard and puree) are cold, mix them together well and churn as per your ice cream maker's instructions.

Line a pudding basin (just under 20 cm in diametre and 1 litre capacity) with cling film. When the ice cream has churned, scoop the ice cream into the pudding basin and place in the freezer to freeze completely.

Italian Meringue

I used the recipe from the MasterChef magazine, also found HERE which is outlined below.

"Combine sugar and 60ml (1/4 cup) water in a saucepan over low–medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Brush down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals forming. Increase heat to medium and cook, without stirring, for 4 minutes or until syrup reaches 115C on a sugar thermometer.

Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites and a pinch of salt to soft peaks. With mixer on low speed, gradually add syrup in a slow, steady stream, then increase speed to high and whisk for 10 minutes or until stiff and glossy." (

Assemble the Bombe Alaska

When the Italian Meringue is stiff and glossy, it is time to assemble the bombe. Lay the sponge on a serving dish and sprinkle a tablespoon of brandy (or liqueur of your choice) over it to moisten. Turn out the ice cream out on to the sponge round. Trim the sponge if it's a little bigger than the ice cream pudding basin shape. Quickly cover the ice cream in Italian Meringue and then create your pattern with the spatula or a knife. Quickly caramelise sections all over with a blow torch.
Serve and Enjoy!


Japan-Australia said...

Looks really good. I hear that they are quite hard to make. How did you find it?

Japan Australia

Nic said...

Wow, good work! My mum used to make a cheat's version of this at Christmas time, so lots of fond memories. She called it Baked Alaska and she would make a cornflake and golden syrup base, then just put a block of shop bought ice-cream on the top and cover it in meringue. We loved it, so I can only imagine how good yours taste with everything made from scratch - yum!

Ms Chef said...

Thanks Nic! I knew it as baked alaska too. I guess since it didn't get baked, rather blow torched, it's not officially baked!

Go Here said...

hilarious. you have a great page.

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