Mini Chocolate Meringue Pies – egg-free

vegan chocolate meringue pies

I haven’t made many fancy puddings for a while and the girls get so fed up with dairy-free yogurts, (particularly since the flavours available are so limited), or fruit which they’re both pretty fussy about. So some tasty, pretty puds have been on my ‘to do’ list for a while. Sweet, billowy meringue makes some of the most ‘wow’ puddings and after a trip to an Ottolenghi deli last week where I spied some beautiful little meringue topped mini tartlets, I got thinking about making some equally beautiful mini tarts at home.

no egg meringue

One Instagram follower likened these to little smurf hats, which I think is pretty accurate, although it wasn’t the intended result! I think this way of piping a pointy dollop on each individual pie is as pretty as can be, especially once toasted and glazed with a blow torch. I decided to fill these tartlets with a rich chocolate ganache which is the perfect dark accompaniment to the sweet and pillow like Italian meringue. As a note, unexpectedly I had a few of the tartlets left over and found that they keep beautifully well in the fridge for a couple of days, which is a total bonus.

no egg, no milk meringue pies

Chocolate Meringue Pies

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

egg-free chocolate meringue pies

makes 6 mini tarts

  • 75ml oat milk
  • 50ml water
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp corn flour
  • 85g dairy free dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 block shortcrust pastry

– Line the six cupcake tins with pastry, prick all over, fill with cling film and baking beans and blind bake.
– Once it’s browned and cooked through [about 20 minutes in a medium oven], remove the baking beans and leave to cool.
– Meanwhile, make the filling.
– Place the water and oat milk and sugar into a saucepan and gently heat.
– Take 1/2 tbsp of the warmed milk mixture and mix to a smooth paste with the cornflour
– Pour the cornflour mix into the oat milk and stir well, bring to a bubbling boil and add the vanilla.
– Place the chopped chocolate into a bowl. Pour over the hot oat milk and stir to until its a smooth mixture. Season with a pinch of salt.
– Pour into the chocolate into the pastry cases. Level off and refrigerate for a few hours until set.

vegan chocolate tarts

 

To make the meringue topping:

dairy-free chocolate meringue pies

water from one tin of chickpeas or beans

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

pinch of zantham gum

pinch of cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla

  1. Whisk 1/3 cup chickpea water with a pinch of zantham gum and a pinch of cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks
  2. Melt together the remaining 1/4 cup chickpea water (or use water instead) and sugar and bring up to 242-248 degrees F/116-120 degrees Centigrade. If you use the chickpea brine to make the sugar syrup you may not get to the required temperature as it will start to caramelise, so as soon as it starts to turn golden, it’s time to use it.
  3. With the stand mixer on medium, slowly drizzle in the hot syrup into the meringue mix
  4. Turn up to high for a minute or two until you have piles of white glossy clouds of meringue, beat in the vanilla.
  5. Pipe onto the chocolate tarts and glaze with a blowtorch or under the grill.

vegan meringue pies

Egg-free Pavlova Revisited

egg-free pavlova

A pavlova is such an iconic dessert, isn’t it? It seems to carry a big wow factor and is a suitable ending to a summer gathering. Essentially pretty simple with its sweet and marshmallowy meringue base topped with piles of whipped cream and fruit. Hardly a recipe you might say?

Well I have made a lovely egg-free pavlova before, but with my previous meringue recipe it was quite difficult to make a meringue of any notable size. Not so with aquafaba or chickpea water, where any size seems possible, making it perfect to create the base of a pavlova pud. I didn’t have any dairy-free whippable cream to hand so I made a quick vanilla fromage frais to stand in – the slight tartness actually worked as an excellent contrast to the sugary sweet meringue. I chose to top mine with sweet raspberries and strawberries. It was wolfed down in seconds!

A word of warning though, it must be eaten straight after assembly as the liquid in the topping starts to melt the meringue. A few minutes is fine as the meringue turns sticky and chewy, which is just right for the centre of a pavlova – any longer and you’ll have a gooey mess!

vegan berry pavlova

Pavlova (egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

dairy-free pavlova

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar, whizzed up to make it a bit finer
  • 1/3 cup chickpea brine
  • 1 tsp arrowroot
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

– Preheat the oven to 130 degrees centigrade

– Whip together the chickpea brine and arrowroot until soft peaks are starting to form

– Beat in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time until it is all incorporated and you have a gorgeous mound of shiny meringue

– Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice

– Dollop a mound of meringue onto a lined baking sheet, spread into a circle shape with a slight dip in the centre

– Turn down the oven to 120 degrees centigrade and bake for 2 hours or until the meringue safely peels off the baking paper

– Top with the vanilla fromage frais and fruit of choice. Eat straight away!

Vanilla Fromage Frais (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

dairy-free vanilla fromage frais topping an egg-free pavlova

  • Half a tub of plain dairy-free yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsps icing sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla

– Line a sieve with a new clean J-cloth, or some cheesecloth

– Pour the yogurt into the lined sieve and place in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight to drain off the liquid

– Beat the sugar and vanilla into the thickened yogurt, serve

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Baked Alaska

 

baked alaska
Egg-free, dairy-free vegan baked alaska

 

I hadn’t thought about Baked Alaska for years and years, at least until last year’s Great British Bake Off which challenged the contestants to make one. This resulted in scandal and newspaper coverage as one contestant left another’s out of the freezer, to a sorry fate of melting on the side board. Not really newsworthy you may say, well maybe not, but all the same a little light relief on the news front compared to normal.

So I hadn’t thought of Baked Alaska for ages – it’s such a 1980s pudding isn’t it? But that show made me feel sad that I’d never be able to create one for my girls to try; Italian meringue was certainly out of my reach this time last year. I even though of trying to create a hollow meringue ‘mountain’ to stuff full of ice cream to give a similar effect, but even that wouldn’t have given the results I wanted. So Baked Alaska was shelved. Until now!

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Since my success with aquafaba and a particularly successful Italian meringue for lemon meringue pie, the time to try Baked Alaska had arrived.

And what a winner. The results are stunning, with piles of lightly browned fluffy billowy white Italian meringue coating cool ice cream and rich chocolate sponge – my girls declared it “the best pudding ever”! And that’s quite high praise, as you might have noticed a fair few puds on this blog!

Clearly this can’t be assembled in advance, but the ice cream can be moulded and left in the freezer until ready, the chocolate loaf can be baked and ready to cut into discs and the Italian meringue will, at a push, sit happily in the fridge over night. It is a bit of a faff, well, several processes, but if you want a knock-your-socks-off ‘wow’ kind of delicious pudding, then this is the one to go for.

Baked Alaska (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free [if use gluten-free sponge], vegetarian and vegan)

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Makes 4 mini Baked Alaska, enough to feed 8, or 4 hungry mouths!

You will need:

  1. 1 chocolate sponge, this recipe works perfectly
  2. dairy-free ice cream, preferably 2 flavours – 1 used homemade strawberry, with vanilla Swedish Glace
  3. 1 batch of aquafaba [chick-pea brine] Italian meringue

To prepare:

  • line 4 round bottomed small bowls or ramekins with cling-film
  • layer in the ice cream, wrap the cling-film over the top and place in the freezer for at least an hour
  • bake the chocolate sponge, then leave to cool
  • next make the Italian meringue

Italian Meringue

  • water from one tin of chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of zantham gum
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

– Whisk 1/3 cup chickpea water with a pinch of zantham gum and a pinch of cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks

– Melt together the remaining 1/4 cup chickpea water (or use water instead) and sugar and bring up to 242-248 degrees F/116-120 degrees Centigrade. If you use the chickpea brine to make the sugar syrup you may not get to the required temperature as it will start to caramelise, so as soon as it starts to turn golden, it’s time to use it.

– With the stand mixer on medium, slowly drizzle in the hot syrup into the meringue mix

– Turn up to high for a minute or two until you have piles of white glossy clouds of meringue, beat in the vanilla

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To assemble [just before serving or the ice cream will melt!]:

  • Cut slices of the chocolate cake and stamp out circles which match the size of the ice cream domes
  • 20150430-184333.jpgTake the ice cream out of the freezer, un-mould and place a dome onto each sponge disc.
  • 20150430-184343.jpgSpread the Italian meringue all over the ice cream domes, making sure they’re completely covered. Try and make as many peaks as possible
  • 20150430-184410.jpgIdeally using a cook’s blow-torch, brown the meringue all over until golden brown. Do watch out as it catches fire pretty easily.
  • Serve to gasps of delight and appreciation 😉

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Pavlova

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Ripple Egg-free Meringues

I haven’t rolled out my egg-free meringue recipe for quite a while, but having seen a bag of beautiful blackcurrant meringues in the Ottolenghi window display the other day, I thought I’d do a fruity meringue too.

These pretty pink mini-meringues are flavoured with freeze-dried strawberries, ground to a pink dust. The flavour is intensely ‘strawberry’.

IMG_5814

I was really pleased with the results, as were my taste testers big and small, as they had perfectly gooey marshmallow centres and a crisp outer shell . In fact, I guarantee you’ll fool anyone into thinking these are conventional meringues made with eggs.

As for the look, well the ripple effect isn’t too natural – I’m not sure how you could achieve it any other way. I streaked a piping bag with lines of red food colouring gel before adding the meringue mix. It’s not necessary of course but adding a visual touch makes them look all the more tempting (thank you Good Food magazine for the idea!)

Strawberry Ripple Egg-free Meringues (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

IMG_5812

makes about 12 smallish meringues

  • 6 tbsps icing sugar, sifted
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp soya protein
  • 3 tbsps cold water
  •  ½ tsp cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1½ tsps soya protein
  • 2 tbsps freeze dried strawberries ground to a powder

– Preheat the oven to 110 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark ½

– Line a baking sheet with baking paper/parchment

– In a small bowl whisk together the icing sugar, xanthan gum and 1 tsp of soya protein. Set aside.

– In a large bowl place the water, vinegar, vanilla and 1½ tsps soya protein. Whisk on high speed for up to 10 minutes until it has increased considerably in size, and is fluffy and bubbly.

– Keeping the whisk on high add the icing sugar mix, 1 tbsp at a time. The mixture should eventually turn pure white and leave stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted out of the mix (I found the peaks were not quite as stiff as one would expect from an egg-based meringue). Whisk in the strawberry dust.

– Pipe or spoon the mix onto the lined baking sheet.

– Place in the oven for up to 1½ hours, until the meringues are totally set and easily peel off the paper.

– Remove from the oven, peel off the paper and leave to cool.

– Keep in a sealed box until ready to use.

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