Egg free? Meringues? Yes, that can be used in the same sentence! As many of you know, Brooklyn is allergic to egg whites. So meringues made the traditional way has never been something that I’ve bothered with. About 6 months ago I came across the wonderful world of Aquafaba (bean liquid). It’s slowly but surely taking the world by storm. Vegans go crazy for the stuff, there’s even Facebook groups specifically to discuss/share hits, misses and ideas.
When I say ‘bean liquid’, I literally mean that. I use chickpea brine, but you can use the brine from other cans of beans too. All you need is something to whip it in – a cake mixer is easiest as it’s less work for you, but an electric hand mixer works too. Here is the recipe and instructions that I follow:
The liquid/brine from 1 can of chickpeas
1 cup of castor sugar
1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
3-4 drops of essence (vanilla or peppermint are my faves)
Colouring, if you wish – I recommend using gel food colouring as too much extra liquid can mess with the mixture.
Pre-heat oven to 100 degrees celsius.
Whip up the liquid/brine until it’s reached soft peaks (doesn’t take long – maybe 5 minutes), add sugar and leave it whipping for a good 10 mins and ensure that all of the sugar has dissolved (continue whipping if it hasn’t). Add lemon juice and essence, whip again. Add colouring and whip again. As you can see, this involves a lot of whipping! Hence my suggestion of using a mixer, if possible. My biggest tip is: whip the s**t out of it! You can’t over mix it, so don’t be shy.
Pipe your beautiful cloud like mixture on to a lined baking tray (or just spoon it on if you like the ‘rustic’ look). For smaller meringues (kisses) – bake for 1 hour*, then switch off the oven and leave them to cool inside. For bigger meringues (nests) – bake for 1 hour 20 mins* and then do the same, leave them to cool in the oven. Once cooled, put straight into an air tight container. When serving – if you leave them out in the air too long they become sticky to the touch. So take them out just as you are ready to eat them.
*Note: Baking times are an approximate. If they no longer feel sticky to the touch, but are still a bit ‘soft’ feeling – this is okay, they will dry out while the oven is cooling. If they’re still sticky, leave baking and check again in 10 minutes.
Let me know how you get on and tag me in a photo if you try them!