Food & Drink

Divinity: A Sweet Easter Treat

Makes about 30 pieces

Sweet Divinities are classic Southern treats


Texan Lisa Fain moved to the Big Apple before a person could find sweet tea and fried chicken at a hundred different Brooklyn hole-in-the-walls, and soon she found herself hungry for a taste of her home state. She began to document her efforts to recreate Lone Star favorites on a blog, The Homesick Texan, that has drawn fans not only in exile up north but also in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. This month, she released her second cookbook, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table. The recipes inside aren’t all Texas standards, but there’s no question that dishes such as ancho chile applesauce, coffee-chipotle pork chops, and tortilla-crusted tilapia draw heavily on the Lone Star canon.

As Fain knows well, holidays can be particularly tough for homesick Southerners. Her old-fashioned Divinities make a great addition to the Easter table, wherever you are. Meringue clouds studded with hunks of pecan, they’re bound to trigger a few sweet memories, especially among Southerners of a certain age. Feel free to personalize them with your own add-ins—she recommends peanuts, chocolate, or candied fruit.


Ingredients

    • 3 cups sugar

    • 1 cup water

    • 1/2 cup light corn syrup

    • 2 egg whites, at room temperature

    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

    • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

    • 1 cup chopped pecans

    • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest


Preparation

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly grease two dessert spoons.

  2. In a tall pot, stir together the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Insert a candy thermometer into the pot and cook over high heat, while stirring, to bring the syrup to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook until it reaches the hardball stage, 250°F, or when a small amount of the syrup turns into a hard ball when dropped into a glass of cold water.

  3. Meanwhile, using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. When the syrup reaches 250°F, remove from the heat. With the stand mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the syrup over the beaten egg whites. The egg white mixture will just be a dark thick liquid at first, but continue to beat until it begins to thicken and turn white, 3 to 5 minutes. At this point, add the vanilla, salt, pecans, and orange zest. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and no longer glossy. From the moment you pour in the syrup to this point, it can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.

  5. Once the divinity candy is no longer glossy, turn off the mixer. Scoop out about a tablespoon-size portion of the candy with one of the greased spoons and use the other spoon to slide it onto the parchment paper. It should not be shiny and should easily form into a cloud-shaped mound. Work quickly, because the candy will begin to harden in the mixer as it cools. Don’t worry if it does get too hard, you can add a little bit of warm water and beat it for a few seconds to make it soft again.

  6. Let the divinity rest until no longer sticky, about 1  hour. It will keep in an airtight container for 1 week.

  7. NOTE: When you stir in the egg whites, you can also add dried fruit and/or shredded coconut.

Reprinted with permission from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Food photography credit: Lisa Fain © 2014


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