Birthday Bombe

Twenty years ago I worked in a retirement home in a little town in the Netherlands called Zwolle. The chef was so talented, I thought, for a retirement home of only 100 or so residents, and one of his most spectacular (and fun!) desserts was called "Bombe Vesuv" after a volcano of the same name (Vesuvius?).

He simply made a large dome-shaped pile of ice cream (he used vanilla but I assume you could use any flavor). This he placed in the freezer while he sliced homemade pound cake into 1/2" slices.

He placed these slices all over the ice-cream dome, filling in the cracks with the end-pieces of pound cake. It didn't have to be real neat because, after he placed it back in the freezer, he whipped up a huge amount of egg whites, adding white sugar to make a heavy meringue. This he spread all over the cake. Then he took a torch, like a welding torch in my mind, and ran it all over the meringue to brown it. This way, he could make this pretty much ahead of time, and at the last minute make the meringue and brown it.

We also nestled a carefully broken eggshell in the very top, partially hidden by meringue, and filled it with something alcoholic. As the three "lesser" chefs, dressed in immaculately white chefs' outfits, passed through the kitchen, these eggshells were lit and carried on their shoulders into dark dining room full of elderly residents. It was quite spectacular. I decided right then that I'd like to retire in the Netherlands!
Posted by Kathy Hertzler