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Christmas Ice Cream Bombe

1 cup dried cherries (4 1/2 ounces)
1 cup dark rum, fruit juice or water

1 1/4 cups milk
5 tablespoons stick butter or margarine (not spread), melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon each almond and vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped
1 pint (2 cups) strawberry ice cream, slightly softened
1 pint (2 cups) coffee ice cream, slightly softened
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

1 bag (11 1/2 ounces) milk-chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Decoration: whipped cream, fabric ribbon

Soak cherries in rum in a covered bowl until plumped, about 30
minutes or while preparing cake. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a 15
1/2 x 10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan. Line with waxed paper. Grease
and lightly flour paper. Have ready a metal 3-quart bowl.

Beat milk, butter, eggs and extracts in a large bowl with an electric
mixer on medium speed until blended and smooth. On low speed, beat
in remaining Cake ingredients until blended. Spread batter evenly
in prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes or until a pick inserted in center
comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife
around edge of pan. Turn cake out on a wire rack (or 2 pushed
together). Remove waxed paper; cool completely. Place the metal
bowl upside down near edge on one side of cake. Using bowl as a
guide, cut out a round of cake (see Baking Lesson, below). Line
bowl with plastic wrap, letting enough wrap extend above rim to
cover top when filled. Cut cake round into 8 wedges. Line bowl by
placing 7 wedges, points down, in bowl. To complete lining bowl,
cut strips from remaining cake to fill area above wedges. Press
pieces together with fingertips to close seams. Save remaining
scraps. Drain cherries. Pack strawberry ice cream into bottom of
cake-lined bowl. Scatter 1/3 cup cherries and 2 tablespoons
pistachio nuts on top. Place in freezer 15 minutes or until firm.
Using coffee ice cream next, repeat layers with remaining ice cream,
cherries and nuts, freezing between layers. Cutting cake scraps to
fit, cover top, pressing down firmly. Fold plastic wrap over top.
Freeze at least 5 hours or overnight. Just before coating bombe,
melt chocolate in medium-size saucepan over low heat, stirring
occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes, then stir in
oil until blended. Remove bombe from freezer. Fold back plastic
wrap on top. Invert bowl onto a freezer-safe serving dish and unmold
bombe. Remove plastic wrap. Pour chocolate coating over top of
bombe and immediately spread with a metal spatula until bombe is
coated. Freeze briefly until coating is hard, or wrap airtight and
freeze up to 1 month. About 20 minutes before serving, remove bombe
from freezer, decorate with ribbon (holding it in place with
toothpicks), then pipe whipped-cream border around bombe. Serves
16.

Note: Cut out a round of cake using bowl as a guide. Cut round into
8 wedges. Line plastic-wrap-lined bowl with 7 wedges, points down.
Cut strips from remaining cake and use them to fill area above
wedges. Press pieces together to close seams.

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