4 large egg whites
4 large egg yolks plus 2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
6-1/4 cups whole milk, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1/2 tsp. 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 min. or until mix is thick enough to coat a metal spoon and is at least 160 degrees, 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 min. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp. 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 until foamy. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 Tbsp. 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 sugar, milk barely to a simmer over med-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.