A dear friend of mine is allergic to both gluten and dairy. When tasked with creating a birthday cake for her, I found myself completely stumped. I don’t care to mess with ingredients like xantham gum and even Whole Foods only sells cakes that are gluten, but not dairy free!
Eureka! What about an ice cream-less, ice cream bombe? A splendid idea from Bubby, who had seen Ina Garten build a spectacular layered dome of fruit sorbets and ice cream on the Barefoot Contessa. All I would need to do is swap out the ice cream for non-heinous soy ice cream, if that were findable.
A simple endeavor really, especially if you are using pre-made ice cream. Rather than press soften ice cream into a normal crusted pie pan, we build the “bombe” upside down in a stainless steel mixing bowl. Using multiple flavors, we layer and press with successively smaller nesting bowls that have been covered in plastic wrap. You must freeze the layers between, so the process does take a bit of time — plus, you’ll want to freeze the whole thing overnight to set.
To unmold, we dip the entire bowl into warm water for a minute. The melted sorbet ended up artfully cascading off the bombe onto the plate, forming an elegant birthday platter.
It was a delightfully refreshing slice reminiscent of a creamsicle — the perfect gluten and dairy free “birthday bombe.”
Ice Cream Bombe
Adapted from Ina Garten
* 1 quart and 1 pint mango sorbet, softened
* 2 pints raspberry sorbet, softened
* 1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened (for dairy free, I used Trader Joe’s Vanilla Soy Ice Cream)
Freeze an 8-inch stainless steel mixing bowl. Note: These vary in depth/volume, so you’ll want to check how much ice cream you’ll need for each layer by filling the bowl with water and submerging the next smaller bowl until the water level hits the rims — repeat for each layer and convert cups of water to pints/quarts of ice cream.
When the bowl is cold, place the mango sorbet in the bowl and press it against the sides of the bowl. If you have a 6 1/2-inch bowl the same shape as the 8-inch bowl (such as from a set of nesting bowls), cover it with plastic wrap and press it into the sorbet to make the layer even. Freeze the sorbet for 30 minutes or until firm. Remove the 6 1/2-inch bowl.
Spread an even layer of softened raspberry sorbet on top of the mango sorbet (a 4 1/2-inch nesting bowl wrapped in plastic wrap helps with this) and freeze for another 30 minutes or until firm. Remove the 4 1/2 inch bowl.
Finally, spoon in enough softened vanilla ice cream to fill the bowl. Freeze until hard.
To unmold, dip the bowl up to the rim in warm water. Run a knife around the edge to loosen the bombe and unmold upside down onto a flat plate. You may need to run a flexible metal spatula along the edge of the bombe to release it. Freeze until ready to serve. Serve in wedges using a knife dipped in hot water.