Neapolitan Christmas Bombe ice-cream cake

Neapolitan ice-cream, but make it festive.
Neapolitan ice-cream, but make it festive. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Dietary
Kid-friendly

This is Neapolitan for adults with a touch of Christmas. It's make-ahead joy that requires very little effort beyond a collation of ingredients. Given you are trying to swirl the different flavours and colours, this is easiest to make in ½ litre batches of ice-cream flavours at a time. Otherwise the separate colours meld and you lose the effect. Pausing and letting it set before completing with the remaining ice-cream is the easiest way to create more definitive layers.

Ingredients

Vanilla layer

1 litre vanilla bean ice-cream

1 cup white chocolate, roughly chopped*

150g soft nougat, cut into small bite-sized pieces*

Chocolate layer

1 litre chocolate ice-cream

1 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped*

1 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped*

Strawberry layer

1 litre strawberry ice-cream

1 cup freeze-dried strawberries, blitzed briefly in a food processor to large crumbs

To coat

½ cup dried edible rose petals

1 cup pistachio kernels, roughly chopped

1 cup crushed freeze-dried raspberry crumbs

dried edible flowers, to scatter (optional)

Method

1. Line the inside of a 20cm wide hemisphere cake tin with cling film, ensuring plenty of overhang to be able to turn out your dessert. You will need 3 separate mixing bowls to create each of the layers.

2. In one bowl combine half the vanilla layer ingredients and stir until the ice-cream is malleable and you are able to swirl the chocolate and nougat pieces through.

3. Repeat this process with half the ice-cream and layer ingredients for the remaining 2 layers (chocolate and strawberry) in the other 2 bowls. Return the remaining ½ litre ice-cream flavours to the freezer. 

4. Working quickly, dollop large spoonfuls of the 3 mixes into the lined cake bowl. This is not a precise process; try to build different layers of flavour and colour. Cover with cling film and pop the tin in the freezer, flat side up, for at least 3 hours.

5. Once this initial layer has set, repeat the same process with the remaining ice-creams and fillings. The 3 litres of ice-cream total plus fillings should get you to the rim of your tin, discard (or eat) any remnants. Smooth the top, cover with cling film and return to the freezer to firm up completely overnight (if making well in advance**, cover the ice-cream in cling film and then alfoil to prevent freezer burn).

6. Before serving, remove the mould from the freezer and let sit for 1 minute. Combine the rose petals, pistachios and freeze-dried fruit in a bowl. 

7. Gently grabbing the overhanging cling film, pull the ice-cream cake from the mould and invert onto a serving plate, peeling off and discarding the cling film. Using your hands, press the coating mixture onto the surface of the ice-cream dome, starting at the top. Continue pressing into the ice-cream – some bits will fall off, simply scoop them up and reapply. As the ice-cream softens it will become a stickier surface for the nuts and flowers to adhere to. Scatter over a few larger dried edible flowers, if using. Use a hot wet knife to cut into the dessert, and a cake wedge to serve immediately.

Tips:

Like all good things, this is a sum of its parts so seek out the best ice-cream you can find. It ensures strength of flavour, and quality ice-creams tend to get less icy when you soften and refreeze.

*It is important to chop the mix-ins into small chunks; this will make it easier to cut into the dessert upon serving.

You can find freeze-dried fruit in the kids' snack aisle of most supermarkets – it's a dependable and often cheaper way of sourcing the ingredient. 

**You will need to start this recipe 1 day ahead but can easily prepare up to 1 week in advance.