Orange and cardamom bombette with pistachio wafers


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

By Denis Cotter

Published 1999

  • About

Curry and popadams for dessert, as Mr Foley, book designer, gourmet and wit, calls it. The preparation seems like a lot of work, but can all be done over the days before you need the bombettes and, of course, an ice cream maker is a huge help, especially for the sorbet. The lovely photo of this dessert features a bombette which is actually pure sorbet, one of a sneaky shortcut batch made by someone I foolishly left into my kitchen briefly. It looks just like the real thing and wasn’t discovered until both the photographer and the lazy boy had departed.


For Six Bombettes

  • 2 tblspns whole cardamom seeds
  • 200 mls single or double cream
  • 200 mls milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • rind and juice of 2 oranges

For 0.5 Litre Orange Sorbet

  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 220 mls water
  • rind and juice of 3 oranges
  • 1 egg white

For 12 Wafers

  • 50 g shelled pistachio nuts
  • 10 g plain flour
  • 45 g caster sugar
  • 40 g egg white
  • 15 g unsalted butter, melted and slightly warm


REMOVE the cardamom seeds from their shells. Put them in a pan with the cream and milk, warm it gently, though not to boiling point. Take the pan from the heat and leave it for 15 minutes, then pass it through a fine sieve to remove all but the finest cardamom powder.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy. At the same time, reheat the infused milk and cream. With the whisk now on low speed, slowly pour in the liquid, then return this custard to the pan and, over a low heat, stir until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Boil the orange juice and rind in a small pan to reduce the liquid by half - then add it to the custard. Leave it to cool completely before freezing it in an ice cream maker.

To make the sorbet, put the caster sugar, water and orange rind in a small pan, bring it to a boil and simmer for two minutes. Leave it to cool before stirring in the orange juice and egg white. Freeze the sorbet in an ice cream machine.

To finish the bombettes, fill six moulds of about 150mls each with some of the orange-cardamom ice cream, scooping out a hollow in the centre. Fill this hollow with some sorbet, leaving enough room for a covering layer of the ice cream. Put the bombettes in the freezer to firm up again. To remove the bombettes from their moulds, run each one under hot water for a few seconds, then turn the bombettes out on to plates. A gentle but firm tap will encourage any stubborn ones.

To make the pistachio wafers, first grind the pistachios as finely as possible, then pass the grounds through a fine sieve. Re-grind the nuts that didn’t pass through until all 50g has been successfully sieved. This may seem tedious but large pieces will destroy the texture of your wafers. Now combine the pistachio, flour and sugar and stir in first the egg white and then the butter.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (Gas Mark 4). On a tray lined with baking parchment, use a teaspoon to form very thin circles of the wafer mix with diameters of 8-10 cm. If the circles are so thin they’re see-through in places, you’ve got the right consistency. Bake the wafers in the oven for eight to ten minutes, until they are lightly toasted. As soon as they are taken from the oven, drape each one over a rolling pin, wooden spoon, broom handle or suchlike for a few seconds to allow it to cool into a curved shape. The wafers will store well for a few days in very dry, sealed conditions, though they are so fragile you will lose a few every time you move the container.