Aquafaba – Meringues
Aquafaba is the liquid that can be found preserving chickpeas. The water is full of chickpea protein and is wonderful and incredibly useful. However, when did chickpea water become popular and ‘a thing’? I don’t recall my mum using or whipping this protein-based liquid up into a frenzy of light meringues. Who discovered that aquafaba could create this miracle and act in such a manner that would allow the vegans among us to be able to enjoy such sweet rituals? Who knows!
Growing up and watching mum cook, she was and still is incredibly frugal, I was never allowed or encouraged to cook but I was always welcomed to watch and taste test as required from a distance. Chickpea water, borlotti bean water, cannellini bean water and lentil water from the cans were always added into the sauce or dish she was preparing and making. That was it, it was never whisked nor was it wasted. The liquid was added in a frugal, ‘not to waste manner’. The aquafaba from the chickpeas always had the ability to thicken the sauces, but we never knew why exactly, it was the protein.
Now as a cook and writer, I could not imagine using aquafaba in my cooking. A basic tin of chickpeas costs approximately 60p – 80p and with that you have protein peas and liquid, a main and a dessert. I am currently teaching my eldest daughter Natalia how to cook as she will be leaving me #weep and heading to university next year and as a vegetarian she can turn her hand to pretty much anything and can miraculously turn an aubergine into dainty pizzas, courgettes into fries and chickpeas into fritters and stews.
Aquafaba contains chickpea protein and is true magic. The liquid requires patience, time, and gentle persistence and persuasion. Whipping the aquafaba can only be actioned with an electric whisk. They taste light and delicate and do not whatsoever taste of chickpeas. Below is my easy to make vegan meringues. I use a touch of food colouring paste and painted the inside of my piping bag to create interest and summer beauty.
Vegan aquafaba meringues
Makes: 30 kisses
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
1 x 400g can chickpeas
2 100g caster sugar
Food colouring (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 90C (fan-assisted).
- Drain the chickpeas over a bowl.
- Reserve the chickpeas for another recipe, refer to carmelas-kitchen.com for some ideas.
- Using an electric whisk, beat the chickpea water in a large bowl until soft peaks form.
- Add the sugar a little bit at a time and continue to whisk until fluffy clouds have formed.
- Please note you will be whisking the aquafaba for 10-15 minutes, do not give up, be patient and ensure the meringue is whisked firm enough. It must hold a peak.
- Take a piping bag and pastry brush. Dip the pastry brush into the food colouring and paint stripes internally inside the piping bag.
- Spoon the meringue mixture into the piping bag and pipe onto a lined baking tray and bake for 75 minutes.