I used to think my mum was so clever when she made baked Alaska. Putting ice cream in the oven then setting it alight was culinary alchemy. Now my kids gasp with amazement as the golden tipped meringue covered “Bombe” emerges from the oven. This one is filled will Christmas cake ice cream, festive and refreshing at the same time. It’s dead easy, quick to make and can be made and frozen a day ahead.

Time to make: 25 minutes plus freezing
Serves: 8-10

1 litre reduced fat vanilla ice-cream
200 g Christmas cake or pudding
1 thick trifle sponge
3 egg whites
¾ cup caster sugar
40 ml brandy- optional

A 1 litre – 1.2 litre capacity bowl
Cling film

Flaming_Baked_AlaskaRemove the ice cream from the freezer and allow it to soften but not melt.
Tear off a long piece of cling film and lay it inside the bowl covering the base of the bowl with the excess length hanging over the sides. Spread it to line the sides of the bowl as best you can. Slice the sponge in half horizontally to make two sponge sheets.Cut one of the sheets into triangles and arrange the triangles in the base of the bowl, cutting and trimming (and squashing if needed) to completely cover the base of the bowl. Cut the remaining sheet of sponge into strips to cover the sides of the bowl, again trimming and packing so there are no gaps. It’s easy and quick to do. Crumble the Christmas cake or pudding, and using a large spoon, fold it into the softened ice cream.

Pack the ice cream into the sponge lined bowl and fold the excess cling film over the top.

Flaming_Baked_Alaska1Place into the freezer to re freeze.
When the ice cream is frozen again prepare the meringue. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl completely free from any grease. Beat with an electric beater until it forms firm peaks, then beat in the caster sugar a spoonful at a time. When all the sugar is incorporated and the ice cream has frozen solid, remove the bowl from the freezer and invert the bowl over a heat proof plate or platter. Using the cling film to gently pull, easing the “bombe” out of the bowl.
Using a spatula, pile the meringue onto the bombe, working from the top down, quickly cover it in a thick layer of meringue. Take a bread and butter knife and use the tip to make swirls of meringue all over the bombe- this all only takes a few minutes.
The bombe can now be re frozen for use the following day or it can be baked.
To bake the bombe pre heat the oven to 220°. When the oven is hot take the bombe from the freezer and place directly into the oven. Bake for 5-10 minutes until golden. To flame the bomb, heat the brandy in a small saucepan then set it alight and pour over the cooked meringue bombe.