Time to Prepare: 1 Hr
For the Amaretti Crust:
1 cup finely crushed amaretti cookies (about 4 1/2 oz.)
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
For the Cappuccino Custard Filling:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon hot water
3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Meringue Topping:
7 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Amaretti Crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees . Lightly coat a 14x41/2-inch rectangular (or 10-inch round) tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray. Set aside.
For the Amaretti Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together crushed cookies, ground almonds and the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Drizzle butter over mixture; toss until evenly coated. Spread mixture in prepared pan; press evenly onto bottom and up sides. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Set aside.
To Make the Cappuccino Custard: In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup granulated sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in milk, cream and 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Gradually stir 1 cup of the milk mixture into the 3 egg yolks.
To Make the Cappuccino Custard: Add egg mixture to remaining milk mixture in saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
To Make the Cappuccino Custard: In a small cup, stir together the hot water, instant espresso powder and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla until espresso has dissolved. Whisk into the filling.
To Make the Cappuccino Custard: Pour the hot filling through a sieve into the tart shell; discard solids. Cover tart with plastic wrap, pressing wrap to the surface of the filling. Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 1 day ahead.
To Make the Meringue Topping: In a 3-quart top of a double boiler, combine the 3 egg whites, the 7 tablespoons granulated sugar and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon sea salt. Beat with a mixer on low for 30 seconds. Place pan over boiling water (upper pan should not touch water). Cook, beating constantly on low, for 3 to 5 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the mixture registers 160 degrees , stopping beaters and quickly scraping bottom and sides of pan occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove pan from heat. Beat on high until fluffy and holding soft peaks, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; beat until spreading consistency, about 2 minutes.
To Make the Meringue Topping: Using a piping bag fitted with a large round or star tip, pipe meringue in 1-inch kisses over the filling. Using a kitchen torch, toast the meringue until deeply golden all over. Alternatively, place the tart pan on a baking sheet, then place under a broiler set to high for 1 minute, watching carefully to prevent burning. Serve as soon as possible for best texture; store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Capturing all the flavors of an afternoon at the neighborhood coffeehouse (and using both yolks and whites, but in different ways), this glam tart features a biscotti-like crust made of almondy amaretti cookies, smooth espresso filling and "foam" made of soft meringue.