3 cups superfine or caster sugar (1 pound 5 ounces) (see Cook’s Note)
9 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup shelled, roasted, salted pistachios, roughly chopped
Fleur de sel
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Arrange two racks evenly spaced in the oven.
Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and spread the sugar so it’s a perfectly even thickness on the paper right to the edge of the sugar, leaving a border on the paper so the sugar doesn’t spill onto the pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges start to brown lightly. Watch carefully! Lower the oven to 250˚ F.
Meanwhile, place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Just before the sugar is ready, whisk the egg whites on high speed for 1 minute, until frothy. With the mixer on low, slowly add the hot sugar to the egg whites. (I use a large spoon at first, then pick up the paper and pour the sugar in slowly.) Add the vanilla extract and continue to whisk on high for 10 minutes, until the egg whites are room temperature. (The bowl may still be warm.) The meringue will be very thick and glossy.
Using two large serving spoons, scoop 6 very large, messy oval dollops of meringue onto each of two sheet pans lined with parchment paper, spacing them out because they will expand while they bake. Sprinkle the pistachios on top and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (make sure your oven isn’t above 250˚ F!), until the outsides of the meringues are crisp but not browned and the centers are still soft. Sprinkle with the Fleur de Sel and set aside to cool.
If you can’t find superfine sugar, process granulated sugar in a food processor fitted with the steel blade for 5 minutes. Measure it after processing. Don’t make meringues on a rainy day or they’ll come out sticky.
2020, Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved