The earliest known recipe for a frozen dessert bombe comes from the great Italian confectioner, G.A. Jarrin. In the first Italian cookbook published in English—The Italian Confectioner or Complete Economy of Desserts according to the Most Modern and Approved Practices (London: 1820—today, you can get the Kindle edition). It was a success: At the time in England, the finest cuisine was considered to be prepared by a French cook and an Italian confectioner (pastry chef).
Jarrin’s “Bomba Ice” was molded in a sorbetière, an ice cream/sorbet mold, with a maraschino- or almond-liqueur-flavored ice. The ice could be hollowed out to fill the cavity with a second flavor.
Sometime after 1840, French recipes appear for the bombe glacée (ice cream bomb), using copper ice cream molds. The molds could be domes or half-rounds; the half-rounds could be joined to create a round (bomb-shaped) dessert. Recipes show that spun sugar was sometimes used as a wick, and brandy was poured onto the plate and lit to create a flaming bombe.
Different flavors could be layered and frozen, one at a time; sorbet layers could be alternated with ice cream. The bombe’s center could be filled with dried and/or fresh fruits, depending on season: berries and grapes, raisins and sultanas. A ladyfinger or thin cake layer could be added. When unmolded, the bombe could be iced and decorated.
Today’s basic bombes are less elaborate so they’re accessible to the home cook. They look like this, a combination of three or four flavors.
We have an even easier variation for you: a one-layer individual bombe. The recipe is courtesy of Starbucks and is made with their new Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino Ice Cream. The mascarpone frosting provides a tiramisu effect when used with coffee ice cream, but complements any flavor of ice cream.
Since this recipe is made in individual portions, you don’t even have to worry about neatly slicing a conventional bombe. Serves 4.
RECIPE FOR INDIVIDUAL ICE CREAM BOMBES
2. Arrange 4 lady finger halves onto the top of each ramekin, which will become the bottom layer when the bombe is unmolded. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze at least 2 hours.
3. Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream, mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
4. Remove ice cream bombes from freezer and unwrap. Invert onto dessert plates. Frost top and sides with mascarpone mixture, making decorative peaks. Dust with cocoa powder.
Check out all the different ice cream desserts in our Ice Cream Glossary.
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