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Nima's Bombe Alaska

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Bombe Alaska is a spectacular dessert that is a real show-stopper.

It requires perfect timing but the results are well worth it. Nima 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!

Recipe
Ingredients

1 plain sponge cake (homemade or bought)
2 tablespoons Marsala (or your favourite liqueur)
2 tubs of gourmet ice-cream (Buy different flavours. Nima used Ranieri vanilla and chocolate ice-cream.)
3 egg whites (keep half of an empty eggshell for use later)
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons brandy to ignite

Method
1.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.

2.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.

3.Most people would just use one tub of ice-cream but Nima says that he 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. Then 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.

4.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.

5.Just before you remove the ice-cream from the freezer start making the meringue. Place the three egg whites, (don't forget to keep half an eggshell), into a clean mixing bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar into the bowl continuing to mix well until the sugar is dissolved.

6.With a hard, flat spatula, smear the meringue very quickly to completely cover the ice-cream and sponge. You can create any pattern you wish but Nima has chosen the straight-sided finish. Leave enough meringue to mound on the top for presentation. Place in the very hot oven straight away and cook for only 3 - 5 minutes or until the meringue has lightly browned - so keep a close eye on it.

As a option: Some people just pop sparklers in the top to serve but Nima likes the following 'flaming' special effect. Poke half an eggshell that has been washed and dried into the top of the bombe. Be careful that the shell does not crack as it will be the reservoir for the brandy. Heat a small saucepan and pour 3 tablespoons of brandy into the hot saucepan. Remove from the heat as the warmth from the hot saucepan will be enough to heat the brandy. Set a flame to the alcohol and as it burns tip it into the eggshell and the flaming brandy will spill over the entire bombe. The result is spectacular!

Serve straight away and cut with a knife dipped in hot water. Serves 10.

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