Almond Meringue Torte with Lemon and Strawberry Filling

 

 

The recipe calls for a pastry bag, but the me­ringue disks can also be formed with a spatu­la. If made ahead, the meringue will soften slightly from contact with the buttercream.

8 TO 10 SERVINGS

 

MERINGUES

1    cup sugar

2/3 cup whole almonds

4    teaspoons cornstarch

½   cup egg whites (about 4 large) Pinch of salt

 

BUTTERCREAM

¾   cup sugar

½   cup egg whites (about 4 large) Pinch of salt

1    cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, room temperature

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

½   cup chilled whipping cream

 

1    16-ounce basket strawberries,

4 berries reserved, remainder hulled and thickly sliced

cups sliced almonds, toasted

 

FOR MERINGUES: Position racks in top third and bottom third of oven and pre­heat to 300°F. Using 9-inch tart pan bot­tom as guide, trace a circle on each of 2 sheets of parchment paper. Place papers, marked side down, on baking sheets.

Blend ‘74 cup sugar, whole almonds and cornstarch in processor until nuts are finely ground. {Step One} Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in large bowl until soft peaks form. Add remain­ing ¾ cup sugar by tablespoonfuls, beat­ing until meringue is stiff and glossy. Fold almond mixture into meringue.

(Step Two} Spoon meringue into large pastry bag fitted with ½-inch-diameter

plain tip. {Step Three} Starting in center of 1 circle marked on parchment and holding tip just above paper, pipe meringue in con­tinuous spiral to fill circle completely. Repeat with remaining circle and me­ringue, forming 2 rounds.

Bake meringues until pale golden and just firm to touch, about 30 minutes, switching position of pans after 20 min­utes. Cool on pans on racks.

FOR BUTTERCREAM: Combine sugar, egg whites and salt in large stainless steel bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk constantly until thermometer registers

135°F, about 5 minutes; remove from over water. Using electric mixer; beat until firm peaks form and mixture is completely cool, about 6 minutes. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time. Gradually beat in lemon juice. (If butter­cream appears curdled, place bowl over low heat for several seconds. Remove from heat; beat until smooth. Repeat warm­ing and beating as necessary) Whisk cream to firm peaks; whisk into buttercream.

Peel parchment off meringues. Using 9-inch tart pan bottom as guide, trim meringues. Place dabs of buttercream on tart pan bottom; top with 1 meringue. Spread ¾ cup buttercream over meringue; top with strawberry slices. Spread ¾ cup buttercream over beny slices. Top with second meringue. Spread remaining but­tercream over top and sides of torte. Press sliced almonds into buttercream. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.)

Cut reserved whole strawberries into quarters. Arrange atop torte.