Here’s a plant-based essential you didn’t know you needed, until you needed it. If you want egg-free meringue-based desserts, you need to know how to make aquafaba meringue.
Impress friends and wow family with a Baked Alaska, Oeufs à la Neige or that Kiwi classic, the Pavlova. The method is the same as a traditional meringue, but the mixture is more stable and more forgiving, you can’t over whisk it and it keeps in the fridge for an extended period of time.
Aquafaba is the liquid that chickpeas have been cooked/canned in. Incredibly, it mimics the characteristics of egg whites. It’s extremely versatile, in vegan and plant-based baking it can also be used for binding, emulsifying, and thickening.
Often, but not always, aquafaba can be used as a straight replacement where ever eggs are traditionally be used. A straight swap may not always work. Below are some ratios if you want to experiment.
One whole egg = 3 Tbsp aquafaba
One egg white = 2 Tbsp aquafaba
One egg yolk = 1 Tbsp aquafaba
Chef’s tip: Leftover aquafaba liquid can be stored in the fridge for about one week or stored in the freezer.
1/2 cup aquafaba
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
120g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice (optional, but recommended)
Put chilled aquafaba and cream of tartar into an electric mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment.
Start on a low speed, beat until the cream of tartar is incorporated and the liquid is semi-opaque.
Increase the speed to high and beat for until opaque.
Reduce the speed to low and begin adding the caster sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. The sugar needs to be added slowly, allowing each tablespoon to be incorporated into the mixture before adding the next.
Once all of the caster sugar has been added, continue to beat on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, once or twice. The meringue should be stiff, white and glossy.
To add the vanilla (and lemon if you’re using it too), reduce the speed to medium and slowly these. Immediately raise the speed to high and beat for another 3 minutes, or until the meringue is stiff, white and glossy.
To bake meringues
Preheat oven to 100ºC.
Pipe onto a baking tray lined with clean greaseproof paper.
Bake until dry, the length of time will depend on the size of meringue.
Store in an airtight container, if they soften you can re-bake at a low temperature or put them in a dehydrator to dry them out before serving.
Chef’s tip: Leftover liquid can be stored in the fridge for about one week or stored in the freezer.