Baked Alaska always reminds me of forgettable hotel or catered desserts. You know the type I’m thinking of…I’ve only ever had the sort that includes freezer burned ice cream and too-foamy meringue.
I have long loved the idea of a Baked Alaska, and I loved it even more when I learned people in the world often call it Bombe Alaska. So fancy! I just love the way “bombe” feels and sounds. In an effort to make this dessert everything I have dreamed it would be, I wanted there to be a jewel-toned surprise. So, I went with a vanilla custard ice cream with a sweet, jammy, white balsamic + strawberry ripple, on top of a olive oil + pistachio sponge cake. I covered the whole thing in glossy swiss meringue with lots of swirls to ensure a pretty toast.
I made the cake and the ripple using Colavita Olive Oil and Chardonnay Balsamic. The olive oil lends it’s fruity nature to the cake and keeps it more tender while frozen than butter would. Balsamic is a natural pair with strawberries and I like the white variety because it doesn’t muddy the vibrant color of the berries like a traditional balsamic might. Plus it lends a sweet tang that is so irresistible. Seriously, I had a spoonful (or 4) of the ripple straight from the pan.
Since I liked these products so much and because you are all da bombe (had to!), in association with Colavita and Fine Cooking*, we are doing a giveaway of some of Colavita’s Olive Oil and Balsamic as well as a 1-year subscription to Fine Cooking Magazine. Enter below! Leave a comment telling me what your favorite ice cream flavor is.**
*Just a note, this is a sponsored giveaway. However, I was not paid for this post, all opinions expressed are my own.
**This giveaway is only open to US residents with non-PO box addresses. Apologies to international and PO box holding readers! You can enter my favorites giveaway here, however. Cheers!
Strawberry Ripple Bombe Alaska
This makes 5, 3 1/2 inch bombe’s. Use the cake scraps and leftover syrup to make a parfait! There may seem to be more sugar than needed for the strawberry ripple, but it encourages jamminess and keeps the ripple from becoming icy when frozen.
Pistachio Cake (adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams):
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup coarsely ground pistachios
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line or grease the bottom of an 8×8 baking pan–do not grease the sides. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, yolks, and salt. Using the whisk attatchement beat the mixture for about 8 minutes until trippled in volume and pale in color. Fold in the flour and pistachios. Fold in the olive oil and vanilla. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.
Using a 3 1/2 inch round cutter, cut out 5 circles from the cake. Place the scrapes in a bag and freeze for parfait making. Place the cake circles on a parchment lined tray in the freezer. Freeze until ready to assemble the bombes.
Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream:
1 lb. strawberries, hulled and stemmed
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
3 teaspoons cornstarch
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chop the strawberries and add to a saucepan with the 1 cup of sugar, honey, and lemon. Cook until the mixture begins to boil, turn down the heat slightly to achieve a low, steady boil and continue to cook, stirring so the bottom of the pan does not burn, until the mixture becomes thick and syrupy and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the white balsamic. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and set aside to cool completely Can be made a day or two in advance, store in a jar in the refrigerator.
Whisk 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch and set the slurry aside.
In a bowl whisk the egg yolks with the 2/3 cup of sugar and vanilla until combined and just beginning to turn pale yellow. Set aside.
In a saucepan heat the cream and remaining milk until just before it comes to a boil. Whisk about 1/2 of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, 1 ladle full at a time, to temper. Add the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan of remaining hot cream. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Over medium low heat, cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour into a gallon, zip top, freezer bag and place in an ice bath to cool completely. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Scrape about 1/3 of the ice cream into an 8×8 baking pan, layer in liberal drizzles of the strawberry ripple, and repeat. Freeze, covered, until solid at least 6 hours. Cut out 5 rounds using the same cutter you used for the cake rounds (3 1/2 inches). Place the ice cream rounds on top of the cake rounds and return to the freezer while you make the meringue.
3 egg white
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
In a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, whisk the egg whites with the sugar and salt to combine. Continue to whisk until the egg white mixture is warm, not too hot, and the sugar is dissolved. You can test this by dipping a finger into the warm egg white and rubbing it–if there are no longer any sugar granules, it is done. Using a stand (whisk attachment) or hand mixer, whip the egg whites until they become voluminous bright white, glossy, and hold a medium-stiff peak. Ice the bombes with the swiss meringue. Toast just before serving.