The ice cream bombe is your new party trick.
At its apotheosis, the ice cream sundae is turbulent and messy—an edible monument to opulence and near insanity that drips with sauces and sprinkles and begs for you to tear into it with an unbridled love of dairy. And then there’s the ice cream bombe. It’s composed, it’s embellished, it’s something for fancy ladies to eat at fancy parties.
I will never turn down a slice of ice cream bombe with perfectly striated layers, tufts of toasted meringue, or a crown of delicately arranged crystallized violets. But when cooking at home, I do not expect that sort of perfection from myself. I do not need a Pinterest-perfect bombe, because I am the sort of woman who feels ice cream tastes best when it’s straight from the carton.
When I make this bombe, I allow myself to be fully guided by my instincts.
While a completed bombe most certainly can give off the impression of the home cook grasping some sort of great technical skill, at its heart it’s just a bunch of ice cream crammed into a bowl and frozen in that bowl’s exact shape. That perfectly rounded hemisphere full of layers can be yours with just a metal bowl, a roll of cling wrap, and some softened store-bought ice cream. After a couple hours firming up in the freezer, the whole thing is capped with a thin coating of homemade magic shell, and then it can go right back into the freezer until you’re ready to crack into it.
My recipe channels the spirit of a messy, chaotic banana split, but you can treat it as a game of mixing and matching ice cream flavors with toppings. When I make this bombe, I allow myself to be fully guided by my instincts. There’s no shopping list or discernible plan for this woman! You can play it safe and stick with plain old chocolate and vanilla for sure, but if there are particular flavors calling out to you, then follow your heart. Layer in whatever toppings you’ve always wished those bigwigs at the ice cream factory would get keen on. Be your own Ben and Jerry.
In the culinary world, we always stress that mise en place is important, and then at home many of us (myself included) disregard that instruction because no one in the real world owns a million tiny bowls. But for bombe building it is not a suggestion, it is essential. You will work fast, it may get messy, and you absolutely should not care about that at all—because once it’s sliced open to serve, it will be a spectacular cacophony of colors, textures, swirls, and sprinkles.
Ice cream, even on its worst days, can never be wrong. And neither can you. Go forth and claim the bombe.