On a previous blog, I established that the humble chickpea water can be used to make stunning meringues which rival the non-vegan egg white version. In fact when I compared my vegan meringues to egg ones the vegan ones stayed crisper for a lot longer.
Here is the basic recipe that I use whether I am making a gorgeous snow-white Pavlova, or its mini version the meringue nests, mouthwatering lemon meringue pie and that quintessential summer dessert Eton mess which uses crushed meringues. I think summertime calls for meringue desserts as they pair so well with fresh juicy berries, ice cream and cream.
This recipe has never failed me but one thing that is required for perfection is patience and plenty of it. Meringues cannot be hurried, two hours cooking time at low heat then at least another two hours drying time in a cold oven. They are best made on the days the oven is not needed for any other cooking. This recipe is simple and as long as you follow the instructions you will have perfect meringues you can impress everyone with and nobody will know they are made with bean juice, honest.
Only 4 ingredients needed which are
- 1/2 cup of aquafaba
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
I use a stand mixer with a balloon beater or a handheld balloon mixer. If no cream of tartar is available then you could use either lemon juice vinegar but I tend to always use c.o.t. Start with a cold oven the idea is low and slow and this is pretty critical. Heat the oven to 100c never preheat at a higher temperature for meringues. Line the trays with parchment baking paper then lightly spray or rub with a little neutral-tasting oil such as rapeseed or sunflower oil. I know parchment paper is non-stick but I feel meringues sometimes need that extra bit of extra help.
- Use a large clean bowl and add the room temperature aquafaba, cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Start whipping slowly then when it starts to foam increase the mixer to top speed. This is where patience comes in as you need to whip and whip and when you think you have whipped enough whip some more. It needs to be so thick that it holds it’s shape firmly.
- Now add the sugar but very slowly and only a tablespoon at a time. Make sure each addition is well incorporated before you add more until all the sugar has been used.
- The next bit is totally up to you and which end result you would like to achieve. Either use a piping bag for a more professional look or if making meringue kisses, or it looks just as good dolloped onto lemon meringue pie, Pavlova, meringue nests or single meringues.
- Once you have piped or placed your meringues onto the baking tray place in the oven and leave well alone for at least 2 hours. Do not be tempted to sneak a look or even open the oven door to check on them. After 2 hours turn the oven off completely. You could eat them now if you wish but I much prefer to dry them out more so I leave mine in the cold oven for another 1- 2 hours. This has always worked for me and then store in an airtight container. I have kept them in a container for a couple of weeks and they are still perfect but normally they will get eaten long before then.
You can use any other flavourings or colours, making sure they are suitable for your dietary requirements such as vegan or gluten-free. I have used so far maple syrup, coffee and peppermint extracts and a collection of different colours.
To get stripes through the meringue in a contrasting colour use a small clean paintbrush or a new make-up brush. Dip it into your vegan/gluten-free food colour gel and paint a few thin lines into the inside of your piping bag from the bottom to top then add the meringue. For a more random pattern put a few drops of gel colour as you are filling the piping bag. You can use more that one colour gel for these designs which looks amazing.
I have pictured a few of the types of meringue I have made, such as meringue nests, kisses or medium-sized meringues.