More Adventures in Egg-free Meringue

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Have you heard of chickpea meringue? If you haven’t, where have you been? Well, probably anywhere but the vegan online forums where chickpea meringue has taken over the world in 2015! It hasn’t really hit the allergy community yet, but it’s BIG in the vegan one.

The world of egg-free meringue has changed forever thanks to Joel Roessell of Revolution Vegetale who I believe is the true originator. The idea seems crazy, and perhaps a little bit… gross even, but it works a treat. His idea is using the discarded water (brine) from a tin of beans or chickpeas to be whipped up into an egg white substitute. Then Goose Wohlt, who can be found at www.aquafaba.com brought the concept to the masses (by which I mean the online vegan community). If you are tempted to try, and I urge you to, do think of posting your recipes on the Facebook page Vegan Meringues: Hits and Misses, as the recipe has been developed as a collaboration ( and do join the FB page as there are some amazing experiments taking place).

I first heard of the idea from my online friend Somer McCowan of Vedged Out fame and I have to say I was sceptical – a meringue made from the water from a tin of chickpeas and some sugar! To be honest, it does sound utterly bonkers doesn’t it? Besides I’d previously created my own egg-free meringue of which I am inordinately proud, surely my recipe couldn’t be trumped by a can of chickpeas, could it?! Well, I still stand by my recipe – when it works it gives fantastic results, but it can be a tricky beast – there are a fair few processes and unusual (and expensive) ingredients and sometimes it does fail – but when it does work the taste is absolutely perfect.

But I had to try this new kid on the block. So with some trepidation I gave it a go. Surely a meringue made of chickpea water isn’t going to be nice? But the first thing I noticed is how easily you can create the soft fluffy, meringue peaks, those voluminous pillows of meringue cloudy fluff with just two ingredients – you simply cannot fail to be impressed. A stand mixer helps because it really does need serious high speed whipping, but seriously you get clouds of the stuff from one tin of chickpeas (or more accurately I should say the water you’d normally throw down the sink) and half a cup of sugar. Having tried the recipe a few times I believe that a pinch of Xanthan gum gives a better finish, but plenty of people prefer just the bean water and sugar. The flavour… well, GREAT was the first feeling. But I’d add that a slight beany flavour comes through as the meringues sit so would encourage you to consume them as fresh as possible. And using vanilla as well as the sugar in the making is a nice touch for flavour.

So over the next few weeks I’ll be taking you along on my journey of discovery of previously thought impossible egg-free meringue-based dishes. As mentioned before, have a look at that Facebook page for further inspiration. I’ve got one or two ideas that I don’t think anyone has tried yet, so keep watching here too.

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So, starting with the basics…..

Egg-free Aquafaba Meringue (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes a good 3-4 trays of meringues!

  • 1 tin of chickpeas or other pulses (standard size)
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar, plus 3 tbsps (whizzed in a blender to become finer, if you use icing sugar beware of brands that contain cornstarch as that prevents the meringues from working)
  • 1/4 tsp Zantham gum
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

– Drain the chickpeas letting the liquid fall straight into your bowl and put the pulses to one side (you’re going to have to start eating a lot of chickpea/bean based dishes!!)
– Add the Zantham gum and whisk on high speed until you have piles of soft pillowy clouds of mixture
– Start adding the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, letting it fully combine between each addition.
– Once all the sugar is incorporated whisk in the vanilla
– You should have stiff peaks of meringue fluff
– Pipe or spoon onto lined baking sheets
– Bake at 120 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes
Then turn down the oven to 90 degrees centigrade and cook for a further 1 hour
Turn off the oven and leave them to cool for another 1 hour
– Peel off the paper and try not to gorge yourself on too many! Keep in an airtight, dry container.

 

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Eton Mess

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There’s nothing more English than strawberries and cream in the Summer, preferably whilst watching Wimbledon or perhaps a game of cricket (although not for me)! It seemed time to roll out my magic egg-free meringue recipe again, and what better way of incorporating strawberries and cream than in the classic Eton mess? Hardly even a recipe, this combination of cream, strawberries and crushed meringue is always a crowd pleaser.

You might think that Eton mess must be out of the question for those who are free-from eggs and dairy, after all it’s mainly cream and meringue! But fear not, this variation is stunningly simple, utterly delicious and friendly to boot. It’s funny because although I’m not strictly dairy-free myself, I have never been able to abide cream which I find too rich and milky, so for me this was always a pudding to avoid. Not any more, with some stunning whipped soya cream I’m a total convert!

Eton Mess (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan) [my egg-free meringues contain soya protein and the cream i used was soya based – however, pea protein is available which also works to good effect and Soyatoo make a good rice based whipping cream)

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serves 4-6

  • 1 recipe of egg-free meringues, mine are rather brown this time as I used unrefined icing sugar
  • 1 carton whipping dairy-free cream, I used Soyatoo
  • 1/2 a punnet of strawberries, pureed
  • 1/2 punnet of strawberries, chopped

– Crush the meringues into large pieces

– Gently fold together all the ingredients

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– Serve in pretty glasses or bowls

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Egg-free Meringue

Here it is, at last… drumroll please … the Holy Grail of egg-free / vegan baking, a recipe for proper, homemade meringues that look and taste exactly as they should. Not possible I used to think. I have previously posted about using Angelfoods meringue mix (3M Mess post) and they were good but a bit too crisp and brittle. Besides, using a packet mix is cheating, isn’t it?

This recipe is tweaked and amalgamated from the only two real recipes for vegan meringues I found online (meat and egg-free.com and Vegetarian Ventures), and a huge thank you to both these bloggers, I would never have considered using soya protein if I hadn’t read their fabulous recipes.

I experimented and fiddled with the recipes, and I’m really happy with how they turned out: pretty much perfect classic meringues but without using egg whites. They’re crispy on the outside, soft and marshmallowy inside. It might seem wasteful to go and buy some soya protein just for this recipe, but it is so good I guarantee you’ll use it again and again.

(Be prepared for more meringue based recipes 😉 )

Egg-free Meringue (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan) warning: contains soya

makes about 12 smallish meringues

  • 6 tbsps icing sugar, sifted
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp soya protein
  • 3 tbsps cold water
  • ¾ tsp cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1½ tsps soya protein

– 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)

– 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.

– Utterly delicious when made into meringue kisses – simply sandwich together using this chocolate ganache

Note on the unusual ingredients:

  • The soya protein takes the place of the egg-white and gives substance to the mixture.  I found a totally vegan soya protein made by Pulsin for sale on Amazon, but be careful as lots of soya protein seems to contain egg or other ingredients you might not want.

  • The xanthan gum helps to bind the mixture together and stops them being too brittle. It is easily found in supermarkets and is often used in gluten-free baking
  • The vinegar gives the soft, squidgy marshmallowy centre which in my opinion is the mark of a great meringue!

3M Mess

If you come to this post searching for homemade egg-free meringue not using a mix, check out this post.

My year 3 daughter has been doing some really cool stuff at school, and this year she’s got a young vibrant teacher who has made school even more fun and exciting, certainly more fun than when I was at school! Anyway, they’ve been studying recipes in the style of Jamie Oliver and are going to make his version of Eton Mess tomorrow.

Obviously, this is a rather problematic recipe if you are allergic to dairy and raw eggs! The yoghurt can easily be substituted with soya yoghurt, but how on earth can you make meringues egg-free?

Well, I found a vegan meringue mix, and having had mixed results before,  I am trying to make some passable ‘meringues’ for her to take in tomorrow. It’s a rather unusual process of adding two powders in bags A and B to sugar and water!!

I think they’ve worked rather well, and are certainly as sweet as a meringue. I’ll get her to recreate the 3M mess at home so we can all taste it. It’s just a question of what to do with the remaining 40 meringues!

Update: Well, it was a huge success! Here’s the recipe in my 8 year old’s words…

3M Mess (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan)

serves 1

  • 4 strawberries
  • a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • a squeeze of orange juice
  • a big handful of meringues
  • a couple of tsps of icing sugar
  • 1 small pot of yogurt
  • a drizzle of vanilla paste

– Scrunch up the strawberries with your hands

– Add icing sugar, balsamic vinegar and orange juice and stir

– Tear apart half the meringues and add.

– Dollop on the yogurt

– Marble

– Add other meringues and a little more yogurt, if wished

– Drizzle on the vanilla paste and top with more strawberries

– Enjoy!