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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.