What does “pâte à bombe” mean?

It’s an interesting question. “Pâte” means “dough” (or a mixture of a semi-solid consistency), and “bombe” pretty much just means “bomb”. So then “pâte à bombe” means “explosive dough” then, Joe? Eh, not quite. For in the world of French pastry a “bombe” is a round sweet thing, filled with spongecake and mousse. Which is interesting, since bombs look like this (of course historically the anarchists who were so well known for throwing them didn’t usually bother with the writing). But then in French a bombe is also a riding cap. What does it all add up to? According to my highly placed sources in the University of Louisville’s Modern Languages Department, while the word “bombe” originally comes from the round exploding thing, in modern French parlance it can be applied to many other things that are round: hats, vases, pastries, etc.. Does that get us any closer to nailing down what pâté à bombe means, exactly? Honestly, I’m really not sure.

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