Making an eggless meringue might sound like a contradiction in terms, but the news is out that it can be done, with one simple yet unusual ingredient; chickpea liquid, aka aquafaba.
That's right, the unappealing briny liquid we usually drain away from a can of chickpeas has hidden depths. French chef Joël Roessel is attributed with discovering that aquafaba can be used to replace eggs in baking.
Why is aquafaba a good alternative to eggs?
There seems to be little scientific explanation behind why this bean water should behave just like egg whites when whipped, but this hasn't stopped the vegan cook Goose Wohlt from looking into it. "Our best guess about the science of it is that it is not attributable solely to one component of the liquid.
There are seed proteins like albumins and perhaps globulins that mimic some of the properties of egg whites. But there are also soluble fibres, sugars, and small quantities of glycosides that provide foaming action. I believe it is the broad combination of each of these that make aquafaba unique in the world of egg replacers.
"A fundraiser is currently being discussed to help offset the cost of a detailed chemical analysis of the ingredient," said Wohlt onCare2.com. Have a look at the Aquafaba website, which dedicated to further exploration of the the liquid.
Back to practicalities, and the good news for vegans is this revolutionary liquid can be treated just like egg whites to make meringues, whipped up and baked in the oven. Meaning vegans worldwide can enjoy easy access to the delights of eggless pavlova, baked Alaska, lemon meringue pie, chocolate mousse and macarons.
How to make meringues without eggs:
Follow these very easy steps to learn how to make eggless meringue:
There are only two basic ingredients necessary for making an eggless meringue. You'll need:
liquid from a can of chickpeas
cream of tartar and vanilla
The simple meringue technique
Whisk the chickpea water with an electric whisk until it forms firm peaks, this will take around 15-20 minutes. There is no risk of over-whipping as there is using egg whites
Then slowly pour in sugar whilst beating at high speed
When the meringue is sufficiently formed to be able to turn the bowl over without losing any, pipe the meringue into small peaks around 3cm in diameter on baking paper
bake in the oven at 100C or 200F for 1.5 hours.
Take your meringue out of the oven and enjoy your eggless meringue.