Everybody has his/her idea of what constitutes an easy recipe. For some people it is very few ingredients. For others, it is a very short prep time. For me, being the chief cook and bottle washer, it is very few dishes left to wash. But my daughter Margi's definition takes the cake (no pun intended): An easy recipe is one that doesn't take any longer to make than it does to eat.
Margi definitely won't be making this torte. For starters, It sits in the oven on off the entire night. But the rest of you may love it because it is made with only 5 ingredients, takes less than 20 minutes to prepare, and almost all of that time the mixer is doing its thing while you are doing something else. And, drum roll please, when you are through making it, you have only one mixing bowl and a couple of utensils to wash.
This torte is so light that if you didn't top it with raspberry sauce, it might float right off the plate. It is the perfect dessert after a heavy meal, like a Passover Seder or an Easter feast. Make it the night before, leave it in the oven on off overnight, then set it aside at room temperature until you are ready to serve it.
If you keep kosher for Passover, you may want to omit the vanilla. I don't think you will miss it once the torte is cloaked with this luscious raspberry sauce.
Wishing you a very happy Pesach, Easter or whatever you and your loved ones are celebrating.
Set It & Forget It Meringue Torte with Fresh Raspberry Sauce
1 cup egg whites, about 7 large eggs, (reserve yolks for another use), at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
⅓ cup water
3 tablespoons raspberry preserves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons berry or cherry brandy, such as kirsch, framboise or chambord
¾ cup whipping cream, whipped with 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Mixed berries and/or edible flowers, optional
To make the torte, arrange rack in center of oven and preheat to 450°. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x3 inch springform pan with vegetable coating or melted butter.
In a large mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, beat for 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on medium until thoroughly incorporated, about 8 minutes. Add vanilla extract. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for 6 minutes or until the whites are so firm that they will stay on a rubber spatula when you lift it up. Do not underbeat.
Transfer meringue to prepared pan. Using an offset spatula, spread top evenly. Place in oven and immediately turn oven off. Leave in closed oven for at least 12 hours. Do not peek or the oven temperature will drop. The meringue will rise and fall, leaving pieces of crusty meringue around sides of pan.
To make raspberry sauce, put raspberries, water, preserves and lemon juice into a small saucepan. Cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes, mashing berries with a wooden spoon. Increase heat to medium and boil gently, mashing the berries to exude as much of their juice as possible. Stir in liqueur, if using. Pour sauce into a medium-mesh strainer placed over a small bowl. Using a wooden spoon, press and scrape raspberries to get as much juice as possible through the strainer. Mash the berries and scrape the bottom of the strainer several times to get as much of the thickened juice as possible. You should have a little over 1 cup sauce.
To Make Ahead: Sauce may be refrigerated covered for up to 3 days or frozen.
When ready to serve, go around edges of meringue with a sharp knife and push the crusty pieces onto the top of the dessert. Don’t worry about the looks; the top will be covered. Cut or scoop meringue onto dessert plates. Drizzle with raspberry sauce, top with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with fresh berries and/or flowers, as desired.
Makes 8 servings.