Vegan ( aka Egg-Less) Meringues

By Val | Nuts and Bolts of Baking

Jun 10
Make Eggless / Vegan Meringues | Baking Help from The Recipe Box

I’m right back to saluting who ever had the crazy idea to whip up the liquid in a tin of chickpeas to see what would happen. People must have thought they were crazy, it’s totally random but totally amazing. I have shied away from aquafaba ( the culinary correct term for bean water) for ages because, honestly, it scared me a little. I have never been a big meringue baker so had no skills to transfer, this was a whole new realm of baking for me. But I have pulled on my big girls knickers and I have mastered making vegan meringues. I very pleased with myself right now.

Can I share my little secret with you…..sshhhh not tell anyone else…..it’s not that hard. It really isn’t. It’s a very simple process, just each step has to be done right.

Let’s Start With The Aquafaba

Just like everything else, not all aquafaba is equal. The water from some beans makes better meringues than the water from others. It’s also important that the water is unsalted. The best bean water to use is chickpea water. It’s something to do with the amount of protein in it ( I think). It whips up better if it’s well chilled rather than room temperature.

  • So, cold unsalted chickpea water makes the best aquafaba.

The Stability

Our meringue needs to be stabilised. We don’t want to spend all of this time whipping it up only for it to collapse in the oven. A teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar works, as does a 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Use whichever you have on hand.

  • Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or cream of tartar will stabilise your meringue.

The Sugar

Let’s be honest, never in a million years are meringues going to be healthy, not even vegan meringues are going to be healthy, so don’t try to reduce the sugar, or substitute the sugar. The recipe needs the sugar. Leave the sugar alone. The sugar needs to be dissolved into the meringue, so icing sugar or very fine caster sugar works lovely. Granulated will at a push but it’s not ideal. If you have to use granulated make sure you whip it until its all dissolved. Rub the meringue between your finger, if it feels gritty, whip it some more. There needs to be so sugar left undissolved. Undissolved sugar leads to cracker meringues.

  • Don’t reduce the sugar
  • Whip it until the meringue is totally smooth when rubbed between your fingers.

Add Flavouring

These little lovelies can be made vanilla or they can be jazzed right up with either liquid flavourings or a better option is freeze dried fruit. Simply crush the freeze dried fruit up into a powder and mix it in with the sugar. If you are going to use liquid flavourings, you need to use alcohol based ones. Oil based ones will deflate your meringue.

  • Crush freeze dried fruit to add flavour to your meringue.
  • Use alcohol based liquid flavours not oil based

Add Colour

Meringues don’t have to be white, they can any colour you want them to be. But, don’t add gallons of liquid colour to it, they will deflate. The best option is a gel based colour. Pro-gel are fantastic, a tiny little dot in enough to colour a whole batch.

  • Use gel not liquid colours

The Process

The best advice is to ensure you whip it enough. The meringue needs to be stiff. Like stiff enough to hold the Bol upside down and have nothing move or fall out. Anything less than this won’t work.

Stiff Peaks – Nothing moved when I turned the bowl on it’s side!

Cooking and Storage

Don’t be tempted to skimp on the cooking time, yes they really do need 2-3 hours in the oven, Vegan meringues take longer to cook than regular meringues. Then they need to left to cool for many hours in the oven with the door shut.

Vegan meringues don’t like moisture, moisture will make them soft and chewy. As soon as they are fully cooled store them in an air tight tub, away from sunlight and heat sources. They will keep lovely for at least 2 weeks.

  • Cook them as long as the recipe says
  • Store in air tight container away from heat and light.

Are you ready to have a go?

There are lots of tips but the process is really easy. I don’t understand why I left it so long to have a go.

Vegan Meringues

  • Water from 1 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 130g Icing Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar or 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Paste
  • A drop of gel food colour.

Method.

  • Preheat the oven to 100c.
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Get a piping bag ready to use ( nozzle in and over a glass ready to be filed)
  • Measure out the sugar and cornflour, and set aside.
  • Add the aquafaba and cream of tartar to the mixing bowl and mix until soft peaks forms. About 5 minutes with a hand mixer.
  • Whisk for another 2 minutes and then start adding the sugar blend, 1 spoon at a time. Make sure the sugar is fully mixed in before adding the next spoonful.
  • Once all the sugar has been added, add the vanilla and food colouring and whisk for another minute.
  • Feel the meringue. If there is any grit, whisk for a little longer.
  • Once smooth, it’s time to transfer your meringue to the tray. You can pipe little kisses or you can spoon on ‘blobs’ creating meringue clouds or you can pipe mini meringue nests.
  • Pop them in the oven for: Kisses for 1 1/2 hours. Clouds for 2 hours and nests for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Check they are cooked by gently topping them, they should should hollow.
  • Once they are cooked close the door and turn the oven off, leave your meringues in the oven for at least 4 hours but best if over night.
  • Once they come out of the oven store in the air tight container.

I would love to know how you get on. The amount of desserts that open back up to you now you know how to make vegan meringue is amazing. There is meringue kisses, meringue nests, pavlovas, baked Alaska or even meringue islands floating on a sea of custard, as per The Great British Bake Off.

More questions or just want to show off your creations, ( we would love to see them) pop over to our little baking club on Facebook, we would love to have you.

Happy Baking

Val x