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Bombe Alaska

1 plain sponge cake (homemade or bought)
2 tablespoons Marsala (or your favourite liqueur)
2 tubs gourmet ice-cream, different flavours
3 egg whites (keep half of an empty eggshell for use later)
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons brandy

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.

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 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. Press together firmly and put
into the freezer immediately for at least 20 minutes or until it
is rock-hard.

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.

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.

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. 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.

Poke half an eggshell that has been washed and dried into the top
of the bombe. Be careful that the shell does not crack. 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. Serve straight away and cut with a
knife dipped in hot water. Serves 10.

Notes: When cutting the discs of ice-cream use a big knife that
has been dipped into hot water and cut quickly. This will slice
the ice-cream easily and evenly.

Take the height of your freezer and oven into consideration before
stacking the ice-cream layers.

Remember safety in the kitchen because you are working with flames
and it is important to take care.

For a breathtaking effect serve with the lights dimmed!

Alternately, pop sparklers in the top to serve.

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