These meringues are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Each sandwich brims with whipped cream and apricot preserves.
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 drop pure almond extract
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons best-quality apricot preserves
For meringue: Put egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat, starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla; mix until combined. Use immediately.
Preheat oven to 200. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
Scoop a spoonful of meringue onto large oval soup spoon, and use another soup spoon to form meringue into shape of small egg. Use second spoon to push meringue oval off first spoon and onto parchment. Spoon 12 ovals onto each prepared baking sheet. Using a small offset spatula, pull out spikes of meringue, creating a porcupine effect.
Bake cookies until they are crisp on outside but have marshmallow consistency inside, about 1 hour. Reduce oven to 175 if meringue starts to brown. Remove from oven, and gently press bottom of each meringue so that it caves in and can be filled. Turn off oven, and return meringues to oven to dry, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely on parchment on wire racks before filling.
Put cream and almond extract in the chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until just stiff, about 2 minutes. Fill half of the hollowed meringues with cream, and the remaining halves with preserves. Sandwich together. Serve immediately.