Meringue Nests With Strawberries

MERINGUE NESTS WITH STRAWBERRIES
Serves 8

6 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
11/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar plus more for berries
4 cups (2 cups) sliced fresh strawberries

Heat the oven to 250 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla. Add the 11/2 cups sugar a few tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Scoop 3/4 cup of the egg white mixture and drop it onto the paper into a mound 3 inches in diameter.

With the back of a spoon, shape a shallow well in the center. Repeat to use the remaining meringue.
Bake the meringues for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and let them cool in the oven at least 2 hours – overnight if possible.

Slip the meringues into a paper bag in a single layer, fold the top over, and store them in a dry place until ready to use, up to three or four days.

In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries with 2 tablespoons sugar. With the back of a spoon, mash some of the strawberries; taste and add more sugar if desired.

To serve, place the meringues on individual dessert plates and spoon some of the strawberries and their juice over each.