Ever so simple, ever so sweet. This recipe is super easy and produces lovely meringues without even the mention of an egg. Instead of egg whites the recipe uses aquafaba, which is the water drained from a tin of chickpeas. I know, it sounds insane, and not a little bit weird. Who wants a meringue with an after taste of houmous? Rest assured they don’t taste any different from a normal meringue. I tested them on children – well known for being the harshest of critics – and they happily wolfed them down and without noticing anything astray with the flavour or texture. I did tell them afterwards and they were pretty gobsmacked.
Once piped the mixture holds it’s shape so you can make simple kisses like mine, or pipe it into nests, or make one big slab for a pavlova. You can also sprinkle the meringues with toppings before they go into the oven if you wish. They are ripe for customisation so add anything you fancy. I like to get the finished meringue, dunk the bottom in dark chocolate and then dip in into hundreds and thousands, or chopped nuts of more flakes of chocolate, like in the photos here. If they come out a bit wonky, or they crack from being removed from the oven too quickly they’ll still taste perfectly fine. You can always break them up and use them to make Vegan Mess for pud.
There are a few small differences with aquafaba meringues in terms of how you treat them however. You can’t add any flavouring to the mixture that has fat in, otherwise the mixture will collapse. So you can’t add cocoa powder, or a lemon oil for example. Vanilla essence is fine, as is a small amount of rose water or anything water based, but it’s just worth bearing in mind (I learnt the hard way!) Also as I’ve mentioned in the method below they need to be kept in an airtight container to prevent them becoming sticky to the touch.
Simple Vegan Meringues:
Makes: 2 trays of meringue kisses
Prep time: 30 mins
Baking time: 2 hrs plus cooling time
- 125ml aquafaba
- 105g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar or cream of tartar
- 1 vanilla pod/1 tsp vanilla essesnce
- Chocolate and Sprinkles to decorate (optional)
- Line 2 baking sheets with non stick baking parchment and set aside. Preheat oven to 100°C
- This is easiest with a stand mixer but can also be made with a hand mixer and bowl. I haven’t tried with just a whisk yet but if your arms can take the work out – be my guest! Place the aquafaba into the bowl and whisk until it gets white and fluffy and begin to hold it’s shape.
- Add the vinegar and continue to mix (the acid helps it to firm up the mixture).
- Slowly, a tablespoon at a time, add the caster sugar. Wait for each spoonful to fully incorporate before you add another. You may need to stop to scrape down the edges if the sugar collects on the sides.
- The meringue is ready when it is very firm, holds its shape and you can’t feel any graininess if you rub the mixture between your fingers. You can’t over mix so if in doubt keep going. Add the seeds of the vanilla pod or vanilla essence and combine. If you’d like coloured meringues add a small amount of gel colouring.
- Spoon the mixture into a large disposable piping bag, smoothing out any air pockets to make piping easier.
- Cut a £2 coin sized hole in the bag and pipe rounds onto the sheet holding the bag perpendicular to the tray so the meringue pipes out straight. Squeeze gently to form a kiss (aka a blob) of meringue and then lift up quickly to form a little tail on top. Repeat with the remaining mixture and the other tray.
- Place the baking trays into the preheated oven and bake for 2 hours.
- When the time is up turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven until it has completely cooled. This prevents a quick change in temperature which can make the meringues crack.
- Once they are cooled you can eat them as they are or dip them in melted chocolate and decorate them with sprinkles, chopped nuts etc.
- Aquafaba meringues must be stored in an air tight container as they will get sticky if exposed to air for too long. They will still taste great but it’s best to keep them in a tupperware until you need them.