Ainsley’s Christmas Snow Dome

This is an impressive looking dessert that’s a cross between an Italian zuccotto and a baked Alaska. It takes a little time but is simple to make and great for using up leftover Christmas pudding. Pandoro is a sweet Italian bread traditionally eaten at Christmas and New Year and this is a great way to use it, although you can use panettone or a plain or ginger sponge cake if you prefer. It’s a dome packed full of delicious flavours and smothered with a glossy Italian meringue – a perfect festive treat.


Remove the ice cream from the freezer and leave to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften.

Line a 2 litre bowl with cling film so that it overhangs the sides.

Slice a 2-3cm thick disk from the bottom of the pandoro and set aside – this will be the base of your dome. Cut another slice from the top of the pandoro and put this into the base of the bowl. Cut the rest of the bread into 2cm thick slices and use them to line the sides of the bowl, ensuring there are no gaps.

Drizzle the sponge with a little liqueur (including the bottom disk that you have set aside).

Mix the ice cream, orange zest and juice and cinnamon together. Fold in the Christmas pudding, ginger, chocolate, cherries, orange peel and nuts. Pour into the pandoro lined bowl and spread out evenly. Place the bottom disk on top, pressing down gently so that it is level with the sides. Use extra slices to seal any edges if needed. Fold the cling film over the base to cover well. Place the bowl in the freezer to firm up for two hours.

Just ahead of serving make the meringue. Put the sugar into a saucepan over a low-medium heat and add 6 tbsp of water. Heat gently, swirling the pan until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium and use a sugar thermometer to heat to 120C.

Meanwhile whisk the egg whites in a clean large bowl using a stand mixer or electric whisk until they form soft peaks.

Once the sugar is at 120c remove from the heat and slowly drizzle the syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl into the whisked eggs while continuing to whisk (be careful not to pour onto the whisk!). Once fully combined continue to whisk for 3-4 minutes until cooled, thick and shiny, ensuring not to over whisk.

When ready to serve, invert the frozen dessert onto a serving plate and spread all over with the meringue. Use a spatula to swirl the surface into peaks. Torch the meringue with a blow torch until lightly golden across the peaks (optional).

Decorate with a dusting of edible glitter/and or stars and serve immediately.



  • 1 pandoro (approx.500g of sponge)
  • 3-4 tbsp Cointreau or similar orange liqueur
  • 1l tub of good quality vanilla ice-cream
  • zest of 1 orange and juice of ½ orange
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 150g leftover Christmas pudding, crumbled into small pieces
  • 1-2 balls of stem ginger, chopped
  • 40g good quality chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips (dark, milk or white)
  • 75g glacé cherries, quartered
  • 40g candied orange peel or Italian mixed peel
  • 30g unsalted shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 30g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 4 egg whites
  • 225g caster sugar
  • To Decorate
  • edible glitter/stars