I distinctly remember the first time I met Margueritte, my mother-in-law. She was in town to see my then-boyfriend, now-husband, and I was invited to dine with them that evening. When I entered Norm’s apartment, Margueritte’s smile lit up her face. She walked over to me, took me into her arms, and gave me the biggest hug.
I saved that hug, tucked it away in my memory, and I take it out every now and then when I need to feel again the unconditional love that she gave me.
Margueritte passed away December 1, 2005, just months after Katrina devastated my city, my home, my life. It was a dreadful year.
Another December has arrived, and I again make Divinity, the traditional Southern confection that Margueritte used to make for me at Christmastime. I do it because she loved sweets as much as I do. I do it to share a moment with a woman who had a profound effect on my life. I do it because I miss her and cooking her candy brings her back to me.
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Combine the sugar, syrup, salt, and water in a heavy pot. Dissolve the sugar over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly.
- Raise the heat to medium and continue to cook until the candy reaches the hard ball stage (260 degrees). This will take about 10 minutes.
- If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test the candy by dropping a tad of it in a cup of cold water. If it holds its shape and turns hard, it’s ready.
- Pour the vanilla into the egg whites.
- While mixing, pour a steady stream of the candy into the egg whites. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you may need a second pair of hands for this.
- After you’ve mixed for 5 minutes, you can drop teaspoonfuls of candy onto greased wax paper, or you can do it my way (the lazy way!) by dumping the whole bowl of candy into a greased baking pan. Don’t dally – it hardens pretty quickly.
- Press a pecan half into the candy while it’s still warm and soft.
- If you poured it into a pan, cut into squares.
Christmas candy – it so warms the heart.