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Bring the vanilla pod and milk to the boil. Then remove from the heat.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then gently whisk in the sugar, a little at a time.
Put the milk back on the stove to simmer. Dip 2 large identical serving spoons into it.
Use these to form the meringue into a large egg shape. Place this into the milk and poach it for 2 minutes each side until firm to the touch. Lift out with a slotted spoon and place on a clean tea-towel to drain. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
Put half the strawberries into a liquidiser and blend to a purée, then sieve into a saucepan. Add the sugar and boil to reduce until syrupy. Skim off any froth that rises, and then set aside. Dice the remaining strawberries into 5mm cubes. When the syrup is cold, stir in the strawberry dice.
Preheat the grill to its maximum. Dust the almonds on a baking sheet with icing sugar and carefully toast them until golden. Remove and leave to cool. Spoon 3 dessertspoonfuls of the strawberries into the centre of 6 soup plates. Place the meringues, 3 per person, on top of the strawberries, and pour the sauce over the meringues. Sprinkle a few almonds over and dust the plates with a little icing sugar.
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