Serves 8

Cook’s notes: Meringues work best when the weather — or at least your kitchen — is dry, so they’re not sticky. Be sure to add the sugar to the egg whites slowly, so it has time to dissolve before more is added. Note that this needs to be made ahead, so that the meringue softens a bit and the flavors meld. I stick a few toothpicks in the torte and lay plastic wrap over them, so that the torte is protected in the refrigerator but doesn’t stick to the plastic.

6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 cups whipping cream
Pinch of salt
6 3/4-ounce Heath Bars, crushed

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Draw a 9-inch circle on each of two parchment paper-lined baking sheets and turn parchment over (so you can see the circles through the paper).
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in vanilla and cream of tartar. Very slowly add sugar; beat to very stiff peaks. Fold in pecans. Divide meringue between baking sheets; spread evenly in the circles. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven but leave door closed; let meringues dry at least 2 hours in oven.
Whip cream and salt just until stiff peaks form. Set aside a little of the Heath Bars for garnishing the torte; fold the rest into the cream. Spread a third of the cream onto one meringue layer. Top with remaining meringue. Frost with remaining cream and sprinkle with Heath Bars. Chill 8 hours or overnight.

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