Cookies: Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (105 degrees C) and place the
rack in the center of your oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of
your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on
medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat
the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time,
and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Beat in the
vanilla extract. (Note:The
meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between
your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty. If it feels gritty
the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between
Before placing the
cookies on the cookie sheet, place a little of the meringue on the underside of
each corner of the parchment paper. This will prevent the paper from sliding.
Then, using two spoons, place 10 equal sized mounds of meringue onto the
prepared baking sheet.
Bake the meringues
for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating the baking sheet from front
to back (about half way through) to ensure even baking.
The meringues are done when they are pale in color and fairly crisp. Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to
finish drying overnight.
Meringue Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for several days. Makes about 10 - 2
inch (6 cm) meringues
Cream: In a large mixing bowl place the cream,
vanilla extract, and sugar and
stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and wire whisk in the refrigerator for at
least 30 minutes. When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. If
not using right away, cover and place in the refrigerator. (The whipped cream
can be made several hours in advance.)
Strawberries: Place about one third of the strawberries in your
food processor and
process until just pureed. (Or you can crush them with a potato
masher or fork.) Cut the rest of the strawberries into bite size pieces and place
in a large bowl, along with the pureed strawberries. Sprinkle the granulated
white sugar over the strawberries and stir to combine (can be made about one
Eton Mess: Break five to six meringue cookies (use more or less if you
like) into bite size pieces. Then fold the strawberries and meringue cookies
into the whipped cream. Place in pretty dessert bowls or long stemmed glasses.
Serve immediately. Serves 4 - 6