Cake. Ice cream. Torched Meringue. These three things are a match made in heaven.
When reading up on the history of the Bombe Alaska, I had visions of it being invented in the kitchen of a super fancy hotel while it was snowing outside. Rich and glamorous guests would marvel over this brand new dessert after enjoying a 6 course banquet dinner. But it turns out that it was probably invented in New Orleans! It was then made popular in New York in 1867 under the name ‘Alaska Florida’ due to the contrast of hot and cold elements in the dessert.
I really like this slightly less traditional version of the Christmas pudding. Here in Australia, Christmas falls during the summer, so the last thing you feel like eating is a piece of steaming hot pudding. We are much more likely to grab a piece of watermelon and then jump in the pool!
Back in 2009, I made a huge 4 litre batch of Christmas pudding ice cream for our big family gathering. Everybody raved about it for years to come, it was a big hit. So I thought it was definitely time to bring it back – but fancier – and the Christmas Pudding Bombe Alaska was born.
I made this Bombe Alaska for a little pre-Christmas catchup with my family and everybody loved it. This time, I altered the ice cream recipe so it would be No Churn. If you’ve been reading at all lately, you know how much I love this super simple no churn ice cream recipe. The base recipe is basically two ingredients – condensed milk and thickened cream, and then you can add any flavour you like. It is so much easier than dealing with egg yolks, custards and ice cream machines.
I also made my own Christmas pudding from scratch – don’t worry, it’s a really easy recipe! But if you’re short on time, feel free to skip this and just get a good quality store-bought one. It is used for the cake base and also gets crumbled into the ice cream, so get one that you love the taste of.
Many versions of Bombe Alaska call for it to be browned quickly in a searing hot oven or a cheeky flambé – douse it in liquor and set it alight! I was too scared to put my beautiful homemade ice cream into the oven. Most modern recipes recommend using a blowtorch, where you can quickly and lightly direct the flame over the meringue to brown it. This worked perfectly for me. I’d definitely recommend investing in a small kitchen blowtorch.
While this recipe may look a little complicated, please don’t be intimidated. It was very easy to put together. I made the ice cream and the pudding the day before, and assembled it right before serving. The most stressful part was taking pictures of it and hoping it wouldn’t melt!
And if you aren’t a fan of Christmas pudding, feel free to change up the flavours of the ice cream and cake. A candy cane ice cream with a chocolate cake base would be fantastic. Or experiment with a gingerbread or rocky road version. They are just as festive and would be absolutely delicious!
Related Post: Berry & Moscato Trifles
No Churn Christmas Pudding Bombe Alaska
A pudding perfect for an Australian Christmas – No Churn Christmas Pudding Bombe Alaska. A delicious combination of ice cream, cake and meringue!
Easy Christmas Pudding (adapted from Donna Hay)
- 1 cup sultanas
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2/3 cup rum or scotch (or black tea if you prefer not to use alcohol)
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 125 g butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (bicarb)
- 1/2 cup almond meal
No Churn Christmas Pudding Ice Cream
- 1/2 cup sultanas
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons rum or scotch (or black tea if you prefer not to use alcohol)
- 3/4 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 400 ml can sweetened condensed milk
- 600 ml thickened cream
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios, optional
- 4 egg whites
- 185 g caster sugar
- Pinch cream of tartar, optional
- Raspberries, to serve
To make the Easy Christmas Pudding…
Place the sultanas and cranberries into a bowl with the booze (or tea if you prefer not to use booze). Stir in the mixed spice and vanilla extract. Set aside to infuse for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Line a 22 cm cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Sift the flour, baking soda and almond meal over the fruit mixture and stir well, ensuring all the fruit is coated in flour. Add the butter mixture and stir to combine well. Spoon into the cake tins. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
Trim the large cake to the size of the pudding basin and roughly crumble up the offcuts. Set aside to use in the ice cream. Wrap the trimmed cake in plastic wrap or place into an airtight container and set aside overnight.
To make the No Churn Christmas Pudding Ice Cream…
Place the sultanas and cranberries into a bowl with the booze (or tea if you prefer not to use booze). Set aside to infuse for at least 1 hour.
Line a 1 litre pudding basin with 2 layers of cling wrap.
In another bowl, whisk together the mixed spice, vanilla and condensed milk. In a seperate large bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold 1/4 of the cream into the condensed milk mixture with a spatula until combined, and then add this mixture back into the bowl with whipped cream.
Gently fold all together until fully incorporated. Add the infused fruit, the pistachios if using, and crumbled Christmas pudding and fold into the ice cream mixture. Pour into the pudding basin, cover the top with the overhanging cling wrap and freeze overnight.
To make the meringue
Use an electric beater to beat egg whites in a large bowl until firm peaks form. Add the caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until thick and glossy.
To assemble the Bombe Alaska
Place cake onto a large plate. Invert ice cream mixture directly on top of the cake and remove the plastic wrap. Working quickly, spread the meringue over the ice cream to cover it completely. Lightly blowtorch the meringue to brown. Serve immediately with fresh raspberries.
You will need to begin this recipe the day before you want to serve it.