Yield: 24 servings
For the meringues:
2 cups egg whites
1 tsp. cream of tartar
2-1/2 lbs. ultra-fine baker's sugar
4 each vanilla beans
For the vinaiagrette:
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsps. ultra-fine baker's sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-1/2 cups olive or pistachio oil
3 qts. strawberry ice cream or sorbet
4-1/2 lbs. fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced
6 oz. pistachio nuts, shelled
1. To make meringues: In mixer bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium-high speed to very stiff peaks (do not under beat).Add sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating constantly at high speed; meringue should be stiff and billowy.
2. Slit vanilla beans lengthwise, scrape out seeds and beat seeds into meringue. Spoon 24 (1/2 cup) mounds of meringue about 4" in diameter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Smooth with the back of a spoon to create a shallow depression in each mound. Bake at 275°F for 11/2 hrs., or until ivory colored and dry throughout. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
3. To make balsamic vinaigrette: Whisk vinegar with sugar, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Whisk in oil.
4. For each serving, to order: Place 1 meringue on plate. Place 1/2-cup scoop of ice cream or sorbet on meringue and cover with 1/2 cup strawberries. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette over strawberries. Scatter 1 Tbsp. pistachios over and around meringue.
Recipe and photo from California Strawberry Commission.