I haven’t posted in a while because a lot of what I have been making are variations on themes I have written about before. I have tried a few different recipes for Okonomiyaki; I am back to making ice cream and sorbet: I still make bread; and lots of noodle dishes.
Today I come with something different – meringues. “But”, you may say, “You already talked about meringue when you posted about Macarons and Pavlova!” Yes! But not about meringues made from ‘aquafaba’! So here’s the conundrum: meringue is defined as being made with well-beaten egg whites and sugar. What do you call it when it’s NOT made with egg whites?
And WHAT, you might ask, is aquafaba? First I have to admit that when my dear friend “A” told me about it maybe a year or more ago, I was less than enthusiastic. (Sorry, “A”!) The idea that I would make meringues with WATER LEFT OVER FROM CANNED CHICKPEAS seemed ridiculous. I lumped it in with the other trending foodstuffs I find “meh”, like quinoa, popped sorghum and, well, you get the idea.
However, I recently read that aquafaba meringues are now being produced commercially and people are liking them! So I thought, “What’s to lose?” There are probably many recipes, but a basic one is:
- 1/2 cup liquid from a can of chickpeas (aquafaba)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla or other flavouring
- 3/4 cup of sugar
Preheat your oven to 200F. Put the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl and whisk, preferably with a Kitchen Aid or other electric mixer. Start on low and work up to highest speed, occasionally stopping to scrape the bowl and release the “lump o’ meringue” from the whisk. Once you have soft peaks during whisking, add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and incorporate completely until the mixture is glossy with stiff peaks.
When the meringue is ready, after about 15 minutes altogether, pipe or spoon onto parchment lined baking trays (I used 2 large cookie trays). From what I have read, you should keep the meringues small; the author of the recipe above says that she got 81 meringues from her recipe. I stopped piping at about 50. I had mixture left over for maybe another dozen or so, but no more room on my trays. It’s in the fridge now. But since no eggs were sacrificed for this recipe, I’m okay to toss the rest if I can’t use it later. (By the way, it does not taste ‘bean-y’ at this point.)
The idea is to dry out the meringues, not really to bake them. When they are dry to the touch and lift easily off the parchment, after about 2 hours, turn off your oven. But leave the meringues where they are until the oven is completely cool, maybe another 2-3 hours. Go for a walk, do errands, whatever…….they’ll be fine.
As to the taste and texture, they are like eating spun sugar. They are so crisp that they shatter in your mouth, then melt into nothing! Because this was my first attempt, I made them as written. But it would be fun to flavour and/or colour them differently, and to try making different sizes. I think I might make some of these into “sandwiches” with Nutella or ganache!