August 26, 2015

Eggless Meringues

August 26, 2015
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Internet – the modern day village where masses gather to entertain, and to be entertained, and where Facebook along with blogs comprise message boards and news booths at the central marketplace – has been buzzing about aquafaba for some time. Although I’ve stayed away from the latest feeds for the best part of the summer, whenever I’ve connected online, recipes for this new culinary obsession have popped up on my screen.

Finally, I gave it a try, too.
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It wasn’t that I craved for eggless meringues. After all, I belong to the tribe that has never understood the thrill behind veggie-burgers, mock pork-chops or imitation chicken nuggets. I mean, if you are a vegetarian, why would you enjoy dishes that echo values associated with meat? To some extent, I have the same attitude towards veganized meringues, macaroons, pavlovas and marshmallows that look pretty but simply mimic egg-based classics.

Ethics aside, I didn’t taste the meringues because of my sugar free lifestyle, but my husband indulged in them while oohing and aahing. You have to rely on his word here.
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There hasn’t been scientific research or formal chemical analysis about cooked chickpea liquid, showing why it is such a competitive emulsifier, and leavening and foaming agent. It looks like someone figured out (accidentally?) in a home laboratory that the high protein content of aquafaba behaves in a similar manner than egg-whites, and to some degree, egg yolks, too.
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To get aquafaba you boil whole chickpeas (after soaking them in plenty of water overnight) until they become tender, and then collect the water. When the liquid cools down it forms jelly like consistency that turns into white, hard foam when you whisk it. Add sugar, a pinch of vanilla and a squeeze of lemon; pipe the mixture on a baking tray, and slowly dehydrate it in the oven; and – voilà! – there is your batch of meringues. If you are looking for an egg-replacer, you won’t find a better one. And, no, aquafaba doesn’t taste like chickpeas.

I added beet-juice to the part of the foam but my hopes of getting pink meringues burnt when our oven over-heated. Have you ever tried to keep a wood oven around 100 C (212 F) for two hours? It’s a laborious job!

Do you see the small cracks on the meringues? They are caused by too high temperature.
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Eggless Meringues

(The recipe makes about 30-40 small pieces)

3/4 cup (187 ml) aquafaba
1/2 - 3/4 cup (125 - 187 ml) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Whip the aquafaba with an electric mixer until it becomes white and light, and forms soft peaks. A balloon whisk of a stand mixer works best. Blender isn’t suitable because the blades spin too fast and don’t aerate the foam.

Add the sugar gradually towards the end of whisking along with the vanilla and lemon. Keep processing until the mixture becomes glossy and so hard that you can turn the bowl upside down without spilling the contents.

Pipe or spoon the mixture on a baking tray.

Bake in 100 C (212 F) for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the meringues are completely dry.

Store the meringues in an airtight container. If they become moist and sticky, re-dehydrate them again in the oven.

Tips:

I pressure-cooked 400 grams (500 ml / 2 cups) chickpeas in 1 liter / 4 cups of water until only half of it was left. The chickpeas were butter-soft and the aquafaba was concentrated.

The aquafaba becomes even stronger when you refrigerate the chickpeas for a day in the same liquid you cooked them in.

You can directly use the liquid from canned chickpeas, too.

Thank you.




23 comments :

  1. How divine and pristine they're!

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  2. How awesome !! Egg-less Meringues is very new to me. Will try it out soon :)

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  3. I recently gifted myself the Pure Vegetarian book. I have read and reread it. I have said this before, you have an exceptional gift of taking difficult subject matter and expressing it in such way an easy way. I love the pictures of the fruit wreaths, saree backgrounds, panchphoron flowers. Tried the Eggplant raita recipe, bookmarked others. May even do a post on the book.
    I am sharing the train car with you Lakshmi.
    Lovely Meringues.

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    1. Dear Ratna,
      I’m so happy you like the book! It's nice to share the train car with you :-)

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  4. I am SO trying this and giving in soon too :)

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  5. FoodGeekGrazeAugust 28, 2015

    i have always greatly enjoyed taking advantage of what aquafaba brings to dishes, but this whole egg-replacer angle was mind blowing. i researched the phenomenon. i stopped saying, "chickpea liquid" because how cool is this new word, right? :-) i bookmarked aquafaba. i had moments of freak just thinking about aquafaba. i have had test kitchen thoughts about aquafaba that have now even traveled into including treats for my four-legged boy. i have done all things aquafaba except actually going in for the cook. the combination of your husband giving it high marks and your ridiculously beautiful photos are reminding me to take my mental game into my kitchen and get on with it.

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  6. have to try have to try this for sure. Do you use Cooked chick peas in curry then?

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    Replies
    1. Yes! You can make so many things from cooked chickpeas.

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  7. These meringues came out beautifully! They look just like the real thing! :)

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  8. I really want to try aquafaba, especially because I have essentially unlimited access to chickpea water (there are a lot of bean stalls and shops here in Barcelona and I'm sure they'd be willing to give away the water they'd discard of otherwise anyway). But I don't have an electric mixer! Do you think it could be done in a high-speed blender? I'm assuming by hand would be just exhausting? haha.

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  9. Unfortunately blender won’t work because it breaks the structure and doesn't aerate the mixture. You’ll need an electric mixer, preferably with a balloon whisk.

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  10. "never understood the thrill behind veggie-burgers, mock pork-chops or imitation chicken nuggets" YES! I am on the same wave as you. Why mock non-vegetarian meals if one is vegetarian. So much variety in "real" vegetarian food that there is no need for that. Like you I am intrigued to try these "chickpea" meringue out too. Got to give it a shot.

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  11. Gorgeous pictures as always, Lakshmi! I was thinking of using the aquafaba to replace eggs in a cake and just wanted to know whether the 2 cups chickpeas in the recipe are the soaked ones. So excited to try this out!

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    1. Bina, I soaked 2 cups dry chickpeas overnight and then pressure-cooked them. So, after soaking there must've been more than 2 cups of chickpeas because they expand.

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    2. Also, I pressure-cooked them longer than I normally would in order to reduce the amount of liquid.

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    3. Thanks so much, Lakshmi!

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  12. My meringues completely melted in the oven :(

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    1. Oh no! Could it be that you had too high temperature? Were they airy and light when you put them in the oven? Unfortunately I'm not an expert in making them. I've tested the recipe two times, and both times it worked. I had a couple of mishaps, too, but much before the meringues ever reached the oven. The mixture collapsed already while I processed it. I noticed it reacts to sugar, or too much of sugar, easily. I would recommend you to google "aquafaba": there 's plenty information out there. Sorry for not being able to help you more.

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  13. Since it has to be such a low temperature, do you think a dehydrator would work (my oven doesn't go very low)? I think I will try it, and report back!

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  14. Hi,
    I'm a school teacher & reading a primary school in Florida. Last few minutes reading your blog post and understand that I have to need a blender to save my time to cook and making juice for my kids. So I think I buy a vitamix blender for blend fruits juice. I was searching post about best vitamix blender but I didn't find in your blog. My request to you please mention me a post about the best and cheap vitamix blender. I hope you will do it for me.
    Waiting for your reply.
    Thanks
    Jessica

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  15. could you please tell me how much flour i need for 12 people? Juicer List

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