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- add 4 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped<br> 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces<br> 2 1/4 cups sugar<br> 3 whole large eggs<br> 1/8 teaspoon salt<br> 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder<br> <a
- Make cake:
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, then line bottom with wax paper and butter paper.
- Melt chocolate and butter in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring, until smooth. Remove bowl from pan and whisk 3/4 cup sugar into chocolate mixture. Whisk in whole eggs and salt, then sift cocoa over and whisk until just combined.
- Pour batter into baking pan, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with a few crumbs adhering, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely.
- Cut cake into 6 equal pieces, then arrange 1 piece in each gratin dish, trimming to fit. Top each piece of cake with a large scoop of ice cream (about 1/2 cup), then freeze, covered, just until ice cream is hard, about 25 minutes (do not let ice cream become rock hard unless making ahead see cooks' note, below).
- Make meringue just before serving:
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Beat egg whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar a little at a time, beating at high speed, and continue beating until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks, about 5 minutes in a standing mixer or about 12 minutes with a handheld.
- Remove gratin dishes from freezer and mound meringue over ice cream and cake, spreading to edge of gratin dish. Bake on a baking sheet in middle of oven until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Cooks' notes:
- Ice cream and cake can be frozen in gratin dishes, covered, up to 1 day. Let soften at room temperature 15 minutes before covering with meringue.
- The egg whites in this recipe will not be fully cooked, which may be of concern if salmonella is a problem in your area.