When I'm served something like the item in the photo above, my expectations tend to be high. They certainly were when I ordered the Flambé Bombe at ¡Duino! (Duende) in Burlington last weekend.
Even before I saw it, the description was alluring: "A thin layer of flourless chocolate cake with fig compote & local chocolate chip vanilla bean ice cream, topped with fresh meringue, served en
I placed my order with the blessing of the waitress, who told me the cake was her favorite thing on the menu. She returned with a plate, a butane lighter and a little cup holding 100-proof rum. She poured the rum over the small pile of dessert and cautioned me to sit back while she lit it. The white meringue slowly erupted in
Finally, flames danced all around. The waitress took her exit, telling my dining companion and me to blow out the fire when we felt like it, or let it burn out on its own. With the outside of the dessert already charred, we got to work huffing and puffing. My hand was on my fork even before the fire was out, and a moment later I was digging in. That took a little more work than I expected, because the ice cream was rock-solid frozen.
In fact, the cake would have benefited from some heat. Its texture wasn’t great, and somehow it tasted a little dry. I’m not sure how or why, since flour is the dry ingredient in cake and this was a flourless cake. The chocolate flavor was unremarkable. A short toss in the microwave would have helped make the texture
As for the fig compote, neither I nor my dining partner noticed it. “There was fig in there? I didn’t taste any,” she told me later. That element could have given the bombe an underlying complexity, but, unfortunately, it was buried.
The Flambé Bombe seems fixable. But this one just flamed out.
Sugar High! is a weekly exploration of the Vermont dessert scene. It features everything from chefs to recipe tips to the best sweets on Vermont menus. Got an idea for something you'd like to see in Sugar High? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.