Okay, guys. Story time.
For the most part, I develop recipes as I go. I sketch out a loose plan, gather base recipes to start with and go from there. I basically never end up with the same recipes/plans that I began with.
Such was the case with Garnet’s Bombe Alaska. I hadn’t planned to garnish it beyond a star, and even as I was making it I was waffling between doing a Bombe Alaska or a Baked Alaska. That’s why when garnishin’ time rolled around, I wasn’t really thinking ahead in concrete terms. The top looked a bit sparse, so I just looked around for whatever might work. My eyes fell on some leftover Pop Rocks from my Harry Potter tower. “Oh,” I thought. “Those would be perfect! They even look gem-like!”
10 years in the industry and a pastry degree have not guaranteed smart choices on my part, clearly.
I set up my photoshoot, garnished my bombes, and got my lights going. Aside from my cat trying to pull down the star decorations I’d hung up, it was going well. I asked my husband to be the one to pour the flaming liquor onto the bombes while I photograph. Being ever the unquestioning supporter, he did so. At no point did it occur to me that I was about to have him light Pop Rocks on fire like an absolute idiot.
Maybe you can guess what happened. Maybe you know what flaming Pop Rocks do, though I’m not sure why you would. In case you don’t: they explode. Big time.
The resulting burst of pops and crackles was not unlike edible fireworks. Cats ran for cover. My husband took a step back and looked to me for answers I didn’t have. It took about 30 seconds for the living room sugar laser show to subside. Thankfully, the only casualties were a posterboard backdrop and my dignity.
So, in short: yes, those are Pop Rocks in the photos. No, don’t use Pop Rocks when you make this. At least not unless you’re lighting the thing in a damp field of grass with nothing flammable nearby. Even then, don’t blame me and good luck explaining to your neighbors why you set a passing squirrel on fire.
The one bright side is that the resulting mass of bubbling Pop Rocks formed kind of an amazing brulee layer on top of the meringue. It’s worth noting sanding sugar will do the same thing WITHOUT anyone risking having an eyebrow burned off by a runaway candy.