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Meringue Snowballs In Custard

My family has passed down this elegant dessert generation by generation. It started with my Russian great-grandmother, who traveled to America more than 100 years ago. I love continuing the tradition with her recipe. —Tonya Burkhard, Palm Coast, Florida
  • Total Time
    Prep: 5 min. Cook: 20 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 4 large egg whites
  • 4 large egg yolks plus 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 6-1/4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Chopped glazed pecans, optional


  • Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. In a large heavy saucepan, whisk egg yolks, eggs, 1 cup sugar and cornstarch until blended; stir in 4 cups milk. Cook over medium-low heat 10-15 minutes or until mixture is just thick enough to coat a metal spoon and a thermometer reads at least 160°, stirring constantly. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat immediately. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl.
  • Place bowl in an ice-water bath. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
  • For snowballs, add cream of tartar to egg whites; beat on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Stir in remaining vanilla. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form.
  • In a large heavy skillet, bring remaining milk barely to a simmer over medium-low heat. Working in batches and using two soup spoons, drop meringue by 1/3 cupfuls into milk; poach meringues 4-6 minutes or until firm to the touch, turning once. Using a slotted spoon, remove meringues to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining meringue, making a total of 12 snowballs. (Discard remaining milk.) If desired, serve with pecans.
Nutrition Facts
1/2 cup sauce with 1 snowball: 216 calories, 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 105mg cholesterol, 88mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate (31g sugars, 0 fiber), 7g protein.

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  • Anna
    Nov 5, 2020

    This is also a traditional New Mexican dessert called Natillas. I make it almost exactly like this except that the egg whites are folded into the hot custard and not removed. Cinnamon is sprinkled over the top. Natillas is one of the most popular dishes in New Mexican homes.

  • Rick
    Dec 9, 2019

    In reality, is a French dessert, it's called ILES FLOTTANTE.

  • Ceege
    Nov 30, 2018

    How far ahead can you make the meringue's? This looks and sounds like such an elegant dessert to serve to guests, but prefer something that can be made ahead. I would love to try this sometime if anyone can advise me.

  • xrayeyes2
    Jun 18, 2017

    For those of you thinking of trying this, this was Julia Child's favorite dessert!