Cookies: Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F (100 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, fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer), 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. Then, on high speed, gradually add the sugar, a little at a time,
and continue to beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks. Beat in the
vanilla extract and food coloring (if using). (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 (about 23 grams) of meringue onto the
prepared baking sheet.
Bake the meringues
for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. The
meringues are done when the outsides are dry and crisp and separate easily from
the parchment paper. Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to
finish drying for several hours, or even overnight.
can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
Makes about 10 - 2
inch (7 cm) Meringue Cookies.
Strawberries: Place about one third of the strawberries
and the sugar in your food processor and process until just
pureed. Alternatively, 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. (Can be made about one
hour before assembling the Eton Mess).
Whipped Cream: In
the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, place the
whipping cream and sugar. Beat, on high speed, until stiff peaks form. (Can also
use a hand mixer or beat by hand with a wire whisk.)
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. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 - 6