Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Vegan Meringue and Pavlova (yes it exists!)

Can you make vegan meringue? Yes you can! I bet you didn’t know that – and I bet you will be surprised by the secret ingredient.

I had a barbecue recently and served up this meringue and cream, and waved it under the nose of my vegan friend… not to tease her, but to tell her that I’d made it for her! The meringue doesn’t contain egg and the cream doesn’t contain cream!
I am ridiculously excited at having found out about this and have been spreading the word; each time I tell someone the main ingredient in the vegan meringue- and the fact that it looks and tastes great – they are amazed.
No, not chickpeas… but the water that is in the tin. It’s called aquafaba and you can read the fascinating story of how people have been looking for egg replacers which work in meringue. It seems to be a relatively recent discovery.
The meringue is really easy to make – just the same as a regular meringue, though the aquafaba did seem to need a bit more whisking than egg whites, so I was very glad of my Kitchenaid stand mixer.
You need:
For the meringue:
liquid from a 400g tin of chickpeas
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp arrowroot powder (available in supermarkets in sachets from Dr. Oetker)
1 tsp vanilla flavouring
1 tsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
For the cream:
400ml tin coconut milk
Icing sugar to taste
Fresh berries to decorate (optional)
Preheat oven to 140C. Drain the liquid from the tin of chickpeas into a bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk, starting off at low speed and gradually increasing the speed to high, for several minutes until the liquid foams up and then forms soft peaks, much like whisking egg whites.

Add the sugar and arrowroot powder and mix on medium speed and then high until you have stiff glossy peaks.
Add the vanilla and vinegar and whisk briefly to combine.

Place a piece of greaseproof paper on a flat baking tray and spoon out the ‘meringue’ into a circular shape. Turn the oven down to 120C and bake for 2 – 2.5 hours. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven to fully cool overnight if you can. At the same time, place the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight.

The next day, carefully peel the greaseproof paper off the meringue – rather than the other way around – and place on a plate to serve. Mine did break up a little unfortunately!

To make the cream, open the tin of coconut milk – the contents will have separated into a thin water-like liquid and a thick, almost solid, top layer. The tins will often separate in this way even in the cupboard and you can easily mix the two layers together to add to a curry and so on – but for this recipe, you want the solid layer. Carefully spoon it out into a bowl and add icing sugar to taste (add about 3 tbsp initially then taste it). Whisk until you have the consistency of double cream.

Spoon on top of the pavlova and top with fresh berries - I used strawberries and blueberries. And there you have it  - a vegan pavlova!

I'm sending this to Tea Time Treats as they have a theme of summer holiday baking; the strawberries and blueberries make this quite summery and this is a good dessert to have after a BBQ as you can make the meringue in advance then assemble it very quickly. The challenge is hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Jane at The Hedgecombers,

I'm also sharing it with the Vegetable Palette challenge, hosted by Shaheen at Allotment 2 Kitchen; the theme is 'more glorious reds' and she accepts fruits as well as veg.

In addition I'm sending this to the Food Year Linkup hosted by Charlottes Lively Kitchen. This would be lovely if you were holding a Breast Cancer Care's Strawberry Tea fundraiser.

Food Year Linkup August 2015


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