Aquafaba. Strange word for a very simple ingredient: chickpea water. Well, more accurately legume water. The water left over after cooking legumes. Weirdly enough, it’s great for making vegan meringues. It’s not a new thing, but it’s coming to the forefront more so now as vegan cooking becomes more common. I’m not vegan, I don’t think I ever will be (never say never), but I like to experiment and try new things. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, right? You need to make sure the water is unsalted, so it might be easier to use water that you’ve cooked your own chickpeas in, rather than the water from a tin.
Either way, I’ve made meringue once in my life, and it was pretty successful, considering it was used to make a raspberry vacherin about 10 years ago. I like meringue, I’m not a massive fan though. It’s not the first thing I choose, nor is it the first thing that comes to mind when I think of what to make for the blog.
Having said that, knowing that I was going to make two types of hummus meant that I knew I was going to have plenty of aquafaba to play with. It’s really not that pretty to look at…..
Let’s be clear though, vegan doesn’t mean healthy. In order to make the meringue, you still have to add a tonne of sugar to the aquafaba, so it’s definitely a special treat.
I have to admit, that there is a very slight hint of chickpea, but not enough that anyone would notice if you didn’t tell them. Honestly. If I didn’t think it was worthwhile, I wouldn’t bother posting. I’m not going to be advocating for recipes that I don’t agree with.
Also, this post is a good way to show that not everything I make goes according to plan. The whipped meringue, before being cooked, was still a bit soft for my liking, and I probably should have added a bit more cream of tartar and/or sugar. But, it was 10:30 at night, and I did not want to have to be up later than I’d planned in order to turn the oven off.
So, the photo of them in the oven shows that they’re not holding their shape as well as I’d have liked. Also…. clearly I didn’t grease some parts of the muffin pan enough, because when I tried to take the meringue off the next day, some of them didn’t quite come off as cleanly as they should have. Not to worry though, they still taste great, the meringue bowls serve their purpose, and the meringue discs worked incredibly.
The meringue bowls work great to hold cream, ice cream, yoghurt, fruit, whatever you want to eat with your meringue. I chose to use mine for Greek yoghurt, mixed berries and a drizzle of honey.
In the interest of using things that are usually discarded, there will be another recipe later this week utilising the entire root vegetable, but that’s for another day. You’re here for the meringue!
1.5 cups of unsalted chickpea water / aquafaba
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 100°C.
- In a large bowl, whisk the aquafaba on the slowest setting of your hand-held whisk until it begins to froth. Turn up to a medium speed and beat for a further two or three minutes.
- Add the cream of tartar and continue to whisk at a medium speed, until soft ribbons start to form.
- Add the vanilla extract, and continue to whisk.
- Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking until fully incorporated before adding the next tablespoon.
- Continue whisking until stiff peaks form and the meringue is a glossy white.
- Transfer the meringue to a piping bag.
- Spray the bottom side of a muffin tray with cooking spray.
- Carefully pipe the meringue around the upside muffin tray, so as to make mini-mountains of meringue. Pipe around alternate muffin molds, so that the meringue does not stick together.
- Pipe meringue biscuits on top of the unused muffin molds.
- Place the muffin tray carefully in the oven, and bake for 90 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR.
- When the 90 minutes up, turn off the oven and allow the meringue to cool down for at least two hours or overnight. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR, until you are sure they have set.
- Remove from the muffin tray, and enjoy.