Good morning all! We’ve had the first real snow yesterday and were enjoying the sparkling whiteness first from the window and then outside. Ilian helped with snow shoveling – he’s coordinated and strong enough this year to really make a dent in the driveway cleaning work!
All the white loveliness made me think of preparing some meringues for a Sunday treat.
Now, traditionally a meringue is egg whites and sugar which egg-allergy people will never enjoy. But luckily, for the past two years, the aquafaba community (aquafaba is the drained liquid from cans of chickpeas and other legumes) has been working on refining vegan meringue recipes on their facebook page. My own experiments based on all the input from there have resulted in a shiny, tasty basic meringue that Ilian can’t get enough of. So there was lots of talk this morning about “sometimes food” versus “always food” and why it’s important to brush our teeth 😉
Here are a few technical details:
- Reducing the aquafaba: It is not always necessary to reduce your aquafaba. However, you need it to be the consistency of egg white, i.e. slightly gelatinous, and mine generally does not come out of the can like that. Some people have success with simply cooling it in the fridge overnight. I find that reducing it to 50% of its original volume and then chilling it works very well – whipping it into a stiff foam takes less time and it holds up great.
For this recipe, I used two cans of chickpeas, each yielding about a 3/4 cup of aquafaba (so a total of 1 1/2 cups). After reduction I had a 3/4 cup of slightly darker (see pictures), denser liquid. I chilled it overnight and it was beautiful to work with!
- Whipping it right: The first time I worked with aquafaba I remember thinking after about 3 minutes of whipping that it looked good, proceeded with my baking, and the result was… runny. Whipping takes a long time. A good rule of thumb is that plain aquafaba needs to be whipped 10 minutes, reduced aquafaba will take less time, about 7 minutes.
For meringues, the sugar and cream of tartar* (well mixed!) are then added in a slow stream while the whipping continues. When everything is incorporated, whip for another 10 or 7 minutes, respectively. You are done when your aquafaba looks like below: clinging to the sides of the mixing bowl with no intention of flowing down, holding very stiff peaks.
*I find that 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar per 1/2 cup of aquafaba is a good ratio.
- 1/2 cup reduced aquafaba
- 4 oz sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- Mix the cream of tartar into the sugar.
- Whip the aquafaba with a stand mixer or handheld mixer on high for 7 or 8 minutes, until stiff.
- Add the sugar with cream of tartar in a slow stream while whipping.
- Whip for another 7 or 8 minutes on high, until mix clings to sides of bowl and very stiff peaks are formed.
- Fill the meringue mix into a piping bag with the tip of your choice and pipe onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. [NEVER pipe meringues onto a cookie sheet sprayed with oil. The oil will make the meringues collapse and completely liquefy.]
- Bake at 175F for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Let cool and store in airtight container. Enjoy and share!