Special equipment: a candy thermometer, a piping bag and a kitchen blowtorch
Put the rum, half-and-half, sherry and ice cream in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a rocks glass. Pipe the meringue on top of the drink, then use a kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue.
Place the whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepot, combine the cream of tartar, 1 cup of the sugar and 1/4 cup water and place over medium-high heat. Cook until the syrup registers 245 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
While the syrup is cooking, whip the egg whites to soft peaks, then gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and whip to stiff peaks.
When the syrup reaches the correct temperature, turn the mixer to medium high and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl (avoiding the whisk) into the meringue. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes, then lower the speed to medium and mix until the meringue is cooled, 6 to 8 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract.
Use the meringue to top a pie or for baked Alaska. Or bake into meringue cookies.
Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Propane gas torches are highly flammable and should be kept away from heat, open flame and prolonged exposure to sunlight. They should be used only in well-ventilated areas. Follow torch manufacturer's instructions for use.
Recipe courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian