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In a small heavy saucepan cook chocolate and butter over low heat until melted; cool. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x1-1/2-inch round cake pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; set pan aside.
For brownie layer, in a large mixing bowl combine eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add chocolate mixture; beat until combined.
In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, espresso powder (if using), and salt. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; beat just until combined. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading evenly.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Invert brownie layer onto a large, flat oven-going plate; remove paper. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Meanwhile, line a 3-quart bowl with plastic wrap. Spread peppermint ice cream in bottom of the prepared bowl. Layer with vanilla ice cream and chocolate ice cream, spreading each layer smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or until very firm.
Remove ice cream from freezer; discard plastic wrap. Unmold ice cream onto brownie layer. Freeze for 15 minutes.
For meringue, in a large mixing bowl beat egg whites, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and cream of tartar on medium speed about 15 minutes or until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, about 1 teaspoon at a time, beating until thick and glossy.
Remove dessert from freezer. Working quickly, spread meringue over ice cream and brownie layer to cover completely. Using the back of a spoon, add high peaks to the meringue. Freeze for at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 500°F for 10 minutes to heat entire oven, then set temperature to broil. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until meringue peaks are golden. Remove from oven. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes for easier slicing (use a serrated knife that has been run under hot water).