"My husband has always loved this dessert," says Judy Stock. "When I first ate dinner with his family, his mom cut him a piece." But, she adds, instead of eating the piece, he consumed the rest of the dessert. "And he's a thin guy." Stock bakes her meringue as one puff. But we find individual puffs easier to manage - and everyone gets a portion.
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
About 1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
10 saltine crackers (2 in. square)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
6 cups strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
1 cup whipping cream, softly whipped
How to Make It
In a large bowl, beat whites and cream of tartar with a mixer on high speed until whites are foamy.
Mix 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder. Beating on high speed, gradually add sugar mixture to whites. Then continue beating until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.
Crush crackers into pieces about 1/4 inch across. Fold crackers and walnuts into whites.
Line 2 baking sheets, 12 by 15 inches each, with cooking parchment (or lightly oil nonstick baking sheets). Spoon meringue mixture in 8 equal mounds about 3 1/2 inches wide and well separated.
Bake in a 300° oven until meringue walnut puffs are lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool on pan about 10 minutes. With a spatula, transfer to racks to cool. If making ahead, package walnut puffs airtight and hold at room temperature up to 1 day.
Mix strawberries and cream with sugar to taste and spoon onto the walnut puffs.