Step 11: The flash paper fireball

Flash paper is another name for thin sheets of highly flammable nitrocellulose. When it catches light, it burns incredibly rapidly and very brightly, leaving nothing more than a trace of ash. Magicians often use it to provide a quick distraction during an illusion or to spice up an otherwise dull sleight of hand.

You can buy flash paper from any reputable magic shop, if such a thing can be said to exist. If you live in London, I recommend Davenports Magic, an old family-run magic shop that has lurked in the basement of Charing Cross Station since 1898.

Flash paper is stored wet to avoid accidental combustion, so you'll have to dry out the required amount overnight before you use it for your Nuked Alaska.

How to arrange your flash paper for a fireball

You'll need:
  • 8 sheets of flash paper (~20cm square)
  • 1 baking tray
  • 2 disposable aluminium foil trays, smaller than your baking tray but with bases larger than 30cm x 15cm.
  • Insulation tape
You don't want to have the flash paper touching your food and leaving chemical residue over the dessert, so it will instead be on a separate tray, surrounding the main dish.

Place one of the foil trays in the centre of the larger baking tray. Crumple seven of the sheets of flash paper so that they lie on the larger tray, surrounding the foil tray. Make sure that they are all touching, but twisting their ends together.

With the remaining piece of flash paper, make a thin strand that will lead from the larger tray to inside the baking tray. This will act as a fuse which will ignite  the rum in the main central dish when the flash paper burns.

Note that you will cook the Nuked Alaska in another aluminium foil tray, which you will then place inside the one you have surrounded by flash paper. This is to minimise the risk of accidentally igniting the flash paper by bringing it directly into contact with a hot tray.

Tuck the match head wrapped in resistance wire underneath the flash paper at one end of the larger tray and tape the connecting wires in place. You should now have a tray rigged to detonate in an incredible, but brief (and hopefully relatively safe) fireball.

Thanks heaps for the recipe PenfoldPlant!<br><br>I tried it out for our Christmas eve this year and everyone loved it!<br>Next year I'm going to try and find a substitute for the flash paper that will give a bigger and better boom while keeping the dessert in tact.<br><br>Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year
How did I miss this earlier? Wow. Just wow.
<ul> <li> Italian <li> Meringue <li> Crunchie bars <li> Alcohol <li> Fire <li> Heston Blumenthal </ul> <br> <br> <strong>AWESOMENESS&nbsp;<br> <br> 5* </strong>any day.
(EDIT- i forgot to add the following to my post)<br><br><br>You might just be receiving a patch...
Nitrocellulose ?
You are my kind of human being. <br>First you tell me how to make a proper Italian meringue, then you give me the schematics to make the detonator to blow it up. <br>If I weren't married already, I'd ask you to marry me.<br>
wowthanks, wev'e always used sparklers or tiny roman candles-on-a-stick for our birthday cakes-- so glad to have something flashy to add. It looks like we all agree that your additions to the cuisinarypyrotechnix world are greatly welcomed and appreciated. please, all make sue you post your creations and inspirations. thanks again sarah
This is awesome.... You are very welcome to come and cook this for me at any time, it looks delicious! Well done for a really well written I'ble, the pics are great too!
Ha, thanks!<br>And thanks for the patch, too - I nearly knocked my monitor over giving it a high five, but it was worth it.<br>Great snowmen, by the way!
haha no problem matey :) High fives for all! ;)
Quite an impressive undertaking!
Cheers, aeray. Yeah, it took a while but it was a lot of fun to make.
I'm truly impressed!
Thanks, I'm glad you like it.
Holy Freaking Fireballs, Batman! Chemistry, physics, and ymum-num-a-licious dessert all in one Instructable. It doesn't get much better than this, unless, perhaps...you had some <i>bacon</i> included.....but I digress. <br><br>My only disappointment with this Instructable is that someone else got to set the Feature flags instead of me....Ah, well....
my spidey-senses are highly tuned, especially for baked alaska!<br>
I can't believe I forgot to include the bacon layer. Oh well, I'll have to wait until next year...
Seeing a detonator on a recipe list would make my day.<br><br>&quot;Place in the oven and leave for 5 minutes. Take out and leave to rest on a countertop and detonate&quot;
Now that I've got the detonator, I'm going to make a habit of detonating all my food.<br><br>5...4...3...2...1... Slightly burnt toast!

About This Instructable


79 favorites


Bio: Artist in Residence at Pier 9, currently exploring a vast array of new tools with which to injure myself.
More by PenfoldPlant: Candy Hearts (made with real heart) Haggis Pops Explosive Cocktail Foam
Add instructable to: