By Tamar Jane Johnston
Avoiding eggs and skipping gluten makes for a tough time baking. Sure there are some egg replacement products out there. But most long-time GF/EFers have found them to be lacking, particularly if you need stiff peaks for your recipe.
Now there’s a ‘canned’ answer.
You know the goop in the bean can that causes you to sort of shudder with disgust as you pour it down the sink? It’s Aquafaba: the perfect, all-natural, egg replacement.
I know it’s a bit hard to swallow, but French chef Joel Roessel made a meringue and the next thing you know Slate, Food52, Kitchn and Facebook are lighting up the interwebs and social media with bean goop recipes that produce beauties that taste and have a mouthfeel like, well, meringue. And look like this:
Say what? How?
Chickpea water drained from the can is whipped to stiff, shiny beautiful peaks that are sweetened and baked to glorious crispy meringue goodness, or folded into delicate pastries, or slathered atop pies.
Even egg loving spouses and (gasp!) kids love this stuff and it is vegan. You purists can soak your own chickpeas overnight and slow cook them before skimming off that gelatinous goodness.
The chefs at Food52 offer tips and recipes for Aquafaba — and those leftover beans from the can.
He offers the following meringue recipe on the Facebook public page Vegan Meringue — Hits and Misses! (which you should go join right now!) They are a supportive community for sharing all about the phenom.
“How do I make meringues?” By Goose Wohlt
The basic recipe for aquafaba meringues is aquafaba to sugar somewhere in between 1:2 and 2:1 ratio, with completely optional ingredients to help stiffen the peaks, like vinegar or cream of tartar. You then bake it between 80C/176F to 110C/230F, depending on your oven.
A basic recipe to get you started:
1. Drain the liquid from one 15oz can of chickpeas (with or without salt) until you have 1/2 to 3/4 cups.
2. Obtain about 1.33 times the volume of your liquid in sugar (any kind, really, but granular sugar is a safe bet).
3. Whip the liquid in a mixer until stiff peaks form. Don’t worry, you can’t really overwhip, and you need good whisk attachment and high speed.
4. After you have your peaks, add the sugar, slowly, a tbsp at a time and incorporate it well each time.
5. After all the sugar is incorporated, feel the foam and if it has any grittiness, keep whipping till it’s gone.
6. Then deposit or extrude the foam onto a dry, clean baking mat or parchment paper covered cookie sheet in 3cm/1.5 inch blobs, and bake at 100C/215F for 1.5 hours.
7. After the time is up, crack the door, and let them cool to room temperature.
8. Store the completed meringues in an airtight container to keep them from getting gooey..
Have you tried Aquafaba in a recipe?
Tell us all about your recipe and success or failure in the comments section.
Feel free to upload some pics for our readers.