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Blackberry Meringue Tart

(Makes one 6-inch tart)
What's the difference between Basic Meringue and Italian Meringue?
Basic meringue is also known as French meringue and is the method best known to home cooks.  Basic meringue is made by beating regular granulated or superfine sugar into egg whites.  Italian meringue is made by drizzling 240-degree F. sugar syrup into egg whites that have already been whipped to hold soft peaks. Whipping continues until the meringue is fully voluminous, satiny, stiff, and cool. This leads to a much more stable meringue which can be used in  various pastries without collapsing.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup almonds, finely ground
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-3 tablespoons water

2 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Italian Meringue:
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water


To make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a 6-inch round removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray or grease with butter.

Place the flour, confectioners' sugar, almonds and salt in a food processor; pulse to combine.  Add the butter cubes to the flour mixture; pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add the almond extract and 1 tablespoon of water.  Pulse until the dough starts to come together, adding more water if necessary.  Gather the dough together and flatten it into a disk.  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of the prepared tart pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.  Cool on a wire rack.

To make the filling:
Combine the blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.  Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on the mixture to extract as much liquid as possible.  Discard the remaining pulp.  Wipe the saucepan clean and return the mixture to the pan. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks and cornstarch, stirring until smooth.  Stir the yolk mixture into the berry mixture.  Bring to a boil over medium-low heat.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the salt an butter.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.

To make the meringue:
Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat at medium speed until soft peaks form.  In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water; bring to a boil.  Cook the mixture, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees F.   With the mixer turned on at a medium-low speed, slowly and carefully pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over the egg whites.  Once all of the syrup is added, increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. 

To assemble the tart:
Preheat the broiler.
Spoon the blackberry filling evenly into the crust.  Top with the meringue.  Broil for 2 minutes or until golden, watching continually so that the meringue doesn't burn.  Serve at room temperature or chill and serve later.

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Berries are abundant in the summer. They are typically eaten fresh out of hand or baked into pies or cobblers.  This recipe creates a lemony blackberry curd filling, similar to a lemon meringue pie, that is both sweet and tart.  The filling can be made a day ahead if desired.  The tart is then topped with a fluffy Italian meringue.  A dessert that captures the essence of summer.
Using this torch is as easy as 1-2-3. Simply slide the safety lock to off, turn the flame knob until you hear the gas flow and press on the ignition.  Instantly, you have a flame that can burn to an amazing 2730 degrees.  Caramelize creme brulees, brown meringues, glaze hams, sear steaks, grill seafood, melt cheeses, toast breads, even throw a s’mores party and much more.  
Easy-to-read markings in both Fahrenheit and Celsius degrees.
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