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White Chocolate Brownies

White chocolate, orange zest and lots of fresh raspberries make these brownies delicious; topping them with meringue makes them glamorous. The cake layer is slender, delightfully dense and both sweet and tart; the meringue is soft and golden. You can call them brownies, but serve them with a swirl of raspberry coulis and they'll be worthy of a black-tie gala.

Makes 32 brownies

For the Brownies

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup finely ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

4 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup fresh raspberries

For the Meringue

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan, line the bottom with parchment or wax paper, butter the paper and dust the bottom and sides of the pan with flour; tap out the excess. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

TO MAKE THE BROWNIES: Whisk together the flour, ground almonds and salt.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of only-just-simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with the chopped chocolate and stir frequently until the ingredients are just melted — you don't want them to get so hot that the butter or the white chocolate separates. (White chocolate is finicky, so don't leave the kitchen while it's over the heat — too much heat and it will fall apart or scorch.) Remove the bowl from the pan of water.

Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the eggs and, with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until pale and foamy. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and blend in the melted butter and chocolate. Still working on low, mix in the dry ingredients, stirring only until they disappear into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the raspberries evenly over the batter. Set aside while you make the meringue.

TO MAKE THE MERINGUE: In the cleaned mixer bowl with the (clean) whisk attachment, or in another large bowl with cleaned beaters, beat the egg whites with the salt on medium speed until they are foamy and just turn opaque. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and add the sugar in a slow, steady stream. Whip the whites until they form firm but still glossy peaks.

Gently spread the meringue over the brownie batter.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the meringue is browned and crackly and the brownies pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow to cool to room temperature in the pan.

Cover a cooling rack with a piece of parchment or wax paper, or a silicone baking mat, dust the paper or mat with confectioners' sugar and very gently, so you don't squish the meringue, turn the brownies out onto the rack. Peel away the parchment paper lining and carefully invert the brownies onto a cutting board. Cut into 32 bars, each roughly 2 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches.

SERVING: Dust the squares with additional confectioners' sugar if you think they need it and serve as is or with Raspberry Coulis.

STORING: Kept in the pan and covered lightly with plastic wrap, the brownies can be kept at room temperature overnight. The meringue makes these fragile (and unfreezable). If you omit the meringue, you can wrap the brownies airtight and keep them at room temperature for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 2 months.

Raspberry Coulis

It takes just 5 minutes to make this raspberry coulis, but what you get packs a lot of flavor. Fresh raspberries will give you beautiful color and flavor, but frozen raspberries will also give you good results. Use berries that are frozen whole without syrup and defrost them enough to process them.

Makes about 1 cup

1 pint (2 cups) red raspberries — fresh or frozen, partially thawed if frozen

3 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste

Put the berries and sugar in a blender or food processor and whir until pureed. Taste and mix in more sugar if needed. Press the coulis through a strainer or a food mill to eliminate the seeds.

STORING: The coulis is at its best just after it is made, but it can be kept covered in the refrigerator overnight.

PLAYING AROUND: Using the same technique, and adjusting the sugar to taste, you can make other fruit coulis. Instead of raspberries, use blueberries, strawberries or exotic fruits like passion fruit, mango or pineapple.

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