The photo is a little blurry and I didn’t have an icing bag to hand, but here’s my vegan meringues with fruit and chocolate fondant!
This post has been a long time coming.
There are many excellent vegan substitutes out there for most desserts, like ice cream, cheesecake, fudge and other cakes and bakes.
But recently, probably due to the lovely summer weather, I’ve had a massive craving for strawberries and meringues. Until now most of my egg substitutes have involved bananas and other fruits, but then I discovered the wonders of aquafaba.
What is aquafaba I hear you ask?
In short, it’s the liquid that comes from draining a can of chickpeas. I know what you’re thinking. I thought the same. But bare with me. It works perfectly. I was highly sceptical at first, but the meringues tasted identical to the normal egg and caster sugar versions I used to make before I turned vegan.
I mean, I’m excited guys. I’ve absolutely no idea how it works, but it does. This opens a whole world of desserts to try out! I’m thinking pavlova. I’m thinking baked alaska. I’m thinking eton mess.
Summer 2016 may just be my most sugar-filled to date. And I won’t regret a thing. In the words of the great Oscar Wilde, everything in moderation, even moderation.
The liquid from 1 drained standard can of chickpeas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
220 grams caster sugar
This recipe follows most other meringue recipes – the only difference is that instead of whipping up egg whites, you’re whipping up the above mix of ingredients and gradually adding in the caster sugar. It’s a very simple method, the only challenge is making sure the meringues don”t burn!
Preheat the oven to about 150°C (this varies oven to oven, so just keep an eye on the meringues as they bake!) and line a tin with grease-proof paper.
1. Add the chickpea liquid (aquafaba) to a mixing bowl with the vanilla extract and cream of tartar. Mix together.
2. Gradually add in the caster sugar, beating all the time. I find that an electric mixer is the handiest option for this!
3. When the mixture has formed stiff peaks (as in the photo above) it’s ready to be piped! If you’re unsure what a stiff peaked mixture looks like, try turn the bowl to the side or, if you dare, upside down. The mixture should be too stiff to move. If it does move, you know it needs a little bit longer.
4. Using a piping bag or even just a spoon like I did, pipe the mixture in even sizes across the lined tin. Leave sufficient space between the meringues as they will expand in the oven and you really don’t want to have to break them apart once they’re fully cooked!
5. Depending on the heat of the oven, the meringues should take about an hour and a half. I watched mine like a hawk and found that it took 1hr 35 mins to be properly cooked through.
6. Transfer the meringues to a wire rack to cool.
If you decide not to eat all the meringues in one go (good luck!) then place them in an airtight container and leave out. They should last a few days technically, but in reality if you’re like my family, they’ll be gone in 24hrs.
The plus side of not using eggs is that if you make a complete mess of the meringues and are left with a more gooey centre, it’s not the end of the world – you will definitely not get any food poisoning and you’ll really just have a perfect mix for Eton Mess!
I ate my meringues with strawberries, blueberries and a chocolate fondant. It was every bit as good as it sounds.