Now by now you know I am using the month of November (#WorldVeganMonth2016) to showcase just how easy it is to eat a near too or 100% Plant based diet. One of the biggest questions I get asked about that is what kind of limitations there are where especially baking is concerned. Well, a few years ago I would have agreed and said that the prospects weren’t that great, but the opposite is true now and the sky really is the limit.
Although we are not huge consumers of sugary treats at home, I do like to bake something decadent at least once a month, this is mainly for my kids but my husband also has a sweet tooth and so when I started out this journey I thought I would be destined to making Raw Cheesecakes (Made with cashew cheese/Cream) and date & nut balls but after spending some time looking into various amazing recipes on my new favorite place in the whole world The Food Monster App from One Green Planet, I quickly discovered that making sweet treats vegan was just as easy as making them with eggs and dairy.
On my many recipe searches, I came across something that completely and utterly intrigued me and that was a suggestion that Meringues yes you read that right, Meringues that are essentially made out of egg whites and sugar can be made successfully egg-free. I just couldn’t believe it and with the holiday season fast approaching and me with a penchant for Pavlova, berries, and cream I made it a priority to test out this seemingly insane and far-fetched idea myself.
So what is it all about and does it really work? How do you make Meringues without egg? Here’s the kicker, all you need is a tin of Chickpeas! Ok stay with me now, don’t leave. I promise it does work and no, your meringues don’t taste like legumes. Enter Aquafaba. To get the best description of what Aquafaba essentially is, then you can just have a good old read through here at the Wikipedia page for it. But in a nutshell the liquid we usually all throw down the drain when we use the chickpea’s we just bought to make hummus with, is actually similar in it’s makeup to egg whites and can be used successfully as an egg replacer in many recipes, one of them, and the one that has the world stumped is meringue and it works people, it really does. So next time you buy a tin of chickpeas or other tinned legumes throw off the liquid into a bowl and follow my recipe below and you can have the most delicious meringues ever without actually using eggs and believe me when I tell you they are delicious. I apologize in advance for not having a picture of starting out withe the chickpea liquid but I completely forgot to take one.
Because I do not want to repeat the many other people who have already written about the origin of Aquafaba online, I have chosen to include the Wiki link and do hope that you will go and read it to find out more. The entire concept is quite new and only really became a thing last year. As far as I understand it, there is a lot of research taking place now to find out more about it, but the whole idea is super intriguing and I have certainly had fun trying out a few recipes myself like mayonnaise, Chocolate Mousse and soon to be Mozzarella cheese. Yes, Cheese, another one of those but what about the dairy/egg moments? I’ll let you all know how that turns out when I do it.
So now for the fun part. Let’s make those meringues! To make these meringues even more decadent I added a wonderful coconut chantilly cream on top and served with fresh blue berries from my garden so this is a 100% vegan-friendly dessert and of course also excellent for those with egg allergies who love meringues but can’t have them.
Before I get to it though, I want to mention one cardinal rule when making Aquafaba meringues or any other “egg-white” type thing with this method, and that is absolutely no oil, not a drop because that will immediately reduce your beautiful fluffy meringue mixture to a thin watery liquid and you will have wasted your time and some sugar so all is not lost but still not fun. This, as with regular egg white meringue also means that your mixing bowl must be 100% clean and free of any oily residue. You also need to get the Aquafaba starting to froth and make soft peaks before adding any sugar or other things like cocoa or flavors. I find the meringue very stable and easy to work with but it does take a little bit longer to get to that divine stiff peak stage that you need for great meringues. I found that it takes about 10-15 minutes of continuous beating with a hand-held electric mixer. One other very important thing to remember (And I have experienced this first hand) is that you really don’t want to bake the meringues at all and you literally just want to dry them out so your oven must be set really low. I found that 70-80 degrees celsius is perfect and you can even leave your oven door ajar while they are in there. The drying process takes between 1.5-2 hours though but it is at a very low temp so it’s not too bad on electricity consumption. What you don’t want is a hot oven because
One other very important thing to remember (And I have experienced this first hand) is that you really don’t want to bake the meringues at all and you literally just want to dry them out so your oven must be set really low. I found that 70-80 degrees celsius is perfect and you can even leave your oven door ajar while they are in there. The drying process takes between 1.5-2 hours though but it is at a very low temp so it’s not too bad on electricity consumption. What you don’t want is a hot oven because Aquafaba although pretty easy to work with seems very heat sensitive and the meringues will just flop and you will have to scrape and eat them off the parchment paper if you don’t follow the temperature guidelines. As you may have read in the Wiki link there is actually an entire Facebook group dedicated to Aquafaba and all the hits and misses out there. If you are interested in finding out more like the other 50 000 people on there about this genius finding, then perhaps go check that out.
Here’s what you will need:
The liquid (Aquafaba) from 1 tin of Chickpeas strained into a bowl.
1/4 tsp of cream of Tartar
Sugar to sweeten & this is really dependant on your tastes. I only used about 50ml though.
You could use as much as you liked as with your regular meringue recipes( I used Castor sugar but you could use Xylitol or Stevia too)
The Pink Meringues were done with a drop of Gel food color and I also added a Tbs Rose Water to them. I also made a batch with Cocoa and used about a Tablespoon of that sifted in with the sugar.
I also made a batch with Cocoa and used about a Tablespoon of that sifted in with the sugar. If you want to make two kinds simply divide the plain white meringue into separate bowls and then flavor as desired before piping or spooning out the mixture.
For the Cream:
1 Cup of coconut cream, 5ml vanilla extract and castor sugar to taste. Mix well with the electric mixer and then refrigerate until use.
Piping Bag or spoon to transfer the mixture to the tray.
Pour the Aquafaba into a clean glass bowl and start mixing on high for about 5 minutes until soft peaks form,
Add in your Cream of Tartar as well as the sugar and any other flavoring spoon by spoon while mixing and continuously until you reach the stiff peak stage (depending on your mixer this could take 20 minutes) You can’t overbeat this mixture, it really is very stable and it will eventually just reach a point where it doesn’t seem to do anything more. I would keep on beating it until the peaks are really good, that way the meringues will hold up really nicely while they dry out.
Once you are happy with the mixture you can either pipe or spoon out the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and put it in your oven to dry out for 1.5-2 hours or until they are how you like them. If you want to make a large pavlova then spoon blobs of the mixture into a circle and spread them out, repeat with a second layer or however many you want.
And that my friends is that. It really couldn’t be simpler. What you will find once you bite into them is that they are super light and fluffy and just melt in your mouth. They will need to be kept in an airtight container but keep for a good while so you can make a big batch for holiday treats if you’d like.
If you like this recipe and you would like to download the free printable version then you can get that at my Free Printable library which I am busy filling up with great free items especially for you. You can also find the recipe form Dairy & sugar-free chocolate peanut butter fudge that I made recently too.
Before I go, if you aren’t already following on my Instagram and like all things food related and would like to know about more interesting Dairy, Egg & Meat-free foods that I have made then you can find me over here.
I also love hearing from my readers and would love to hear what you think of this recipe and have you ever heard of Aquafaba? Have you ever tried it? You can pop your comments in the facebook comments or on my blog. I look forward to hearing your stories.
Until next time, happy meringue making