I’ve never done all that much entertaining, mostly because I don’t want to spend my weekends cooking, cleaning, and creating the illusion that I have my personal life under control. (This house will be clean when the kids move out and not a day sooner.) Do you have any idea how stressful entertaining is when you’re a professional food/humor writer married to another chef? People have astronomical expectations when visiting Club Robicelli, anticipating a smorgasbord of delightful bites and hours of nonstop hilarity. I do not need that kind of pressure in my life. I’m already spending all my free time freaking out about robots.
After getting vaccinated, I decided that I needed to change my stance on entertaining, because I desperately need to interact with other human beings but don’t want to leave the house. I’m trying my best to have as many casual shindigs as I can before the fall, just in case a new-and-improved coronavirus variant arises. Luckily, I know how to make plenty of things that look impressive but are easy enough to cause no stress.
Frozen bombes are one of the easiest fancy desserts you can possibly make: they don’t require baking (and barely require cooking), they taste spectacular, and even if you make mistakes, it will still look like a million bucks. Recently I’ve become obsessed with Golden Kiwis, which are sweet like honey, glow like sunshine, and, because they’re a buzzy up-and-comer in the fruit section, make me look good by association. If you can’t find them, you can use the green kiwis you already know and love, and it will still be stellar.
- 18 Golden kiwis (or green ones)
- 2 (0.25-oz.) packets unflavored gelatin powder
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 1 cup milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup thick vanilla yogurt (I used Siggi’s Icelandic, but anything really thick will do)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pour the cold water into a mixing bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on top, and stir gently with a fork until you don’t see any dry spots. (If you need to, you can add a bit more water, as needed, a spoonful at a time.) Set aside.
Peel and roughly chop six of the kiwis, then put them in a medium saucepan with the milk, egg yolks, granulated sugar, and kosher salt. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth, then cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil.
Pour the hot custard over the gelatin and whisk vigorously until the gelatin is dissolved, then whisk in the yogurt. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to cool. (Alternatively, you can pop it in the freezer to chill faster, but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t solidify.)
While the custard chills, line a large 2-quart bowl with plastic wrap, letting it overhang by a few inches. (See note below.) Peel the remaining 12 kiwis and cut into 1/2" thick rounds. Working in batches, lay the kiwi slices on a plate in a single layer and microwave for 30 seconds; this denatures protease enzymes in the kiwi that prevent gelatin from setting, so don’t skip this step! Let the kiwi slices cool, then use them to line the inside of the bowl and pop it into the freezer.
Once the custard is cool, whip the cold heavy cream and powdered sugar together to stiff peaks. And one-third of the whipped cream to the custard and gently fold until well combined, then fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Remove the kiwi-lined bowl from the freezer, pour in the cream, and use a spatula to level off the top. Wrap well in plastic, then freeze for at least six hours until firm.
When ready to serve, unwrap the bombe, then gently tug at the overhanging plastic wrap to loosen it from the bowl. Invert the bowl onto a platter, and the bowl should slide right off; if it doesn’t, let it sit for a few minutes to warm up slightly. Cut the bombe into slices and serve immediately. If you have extra slices, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.
Note: If you don’t have a 2-quart bowl, that’s okay! You can make this bombe in a springform cake pan, an extra-large casserole dish, or any other container you have that can fit at least two quarts of liquid. You can even use a small pot or saute pan if need be. Everything in the recipe will still be exactly the same, except for the number of kiwis needed to line your container, which could be more or less. If you come up short, it will not affect the integrity of the recipe whatsoever. If you have too many, you can either chop them up and add to the Bavarian cream, or you can just eat them while you wait.