Home » Food Corner » How to Make Vegan Meringues & Pavlovas Using Aquafaba

How to Make Vegan Meringues & Pavlovas Using Aquafaba

As an allergy mum, I have had a few disasters in the kitchen in the past couple of years, especially with desserts (understatement of the century). The most valuable lesson I have learnt is to keep it simple. The longer the list of ingredients, the more I seem to set myself to fail. Every time. Trying to figure out how to make sweet recipes vegan is what I have struggled with the most I think.

I first heard of aquafaba about a year ago. It sounds like gobbledygook, doesn’t it? It is the sort of ingredient that would normally have made me run for my life. Just trust me on this one, you should keep reading. It is life-changing (no light reading then, hey!).

If this is the first time you have heard of aquafaba, you are probably thinking it is some exotic ingredient only available in specialist shops. Please stay with me because it is not! It is commonly available and really cheap! Until a couple of months ago, I was throwing it down the drain every time I was making houmous.

Just before I reveal it all, let me show you that one ingredient, whisked. I posted a photo on Instagram in April. It was the first time I had tried whisking it.

Insta

It does look like fluffy egg whites, right?

3-Ingredient Vegan Meringues & Vegan Pavlovas Using Aquafaba - Whipped Aquafaba

OK, OK, no more teasing. Here it is: Aquafaba. “Aquafawhat?” Yes, you read this right: A.Q.U.A.F.A.B.A.

Aquafaba is the cooking liquid of beans or legumes like chickpeas and it is a brilliant egg replacer. Seriously! I know, it sounds odd, gross even, and I was dubious myself until I tried. ‘Healthy’ alternatives are not normally my cup of tea. My taste buds are not made for ‘free from’ food. I love ‘full of’ kind of food, but aquafaba is not a poor egg substitute, not what aspartame is to sugar. Aquafaba is the Rolls Royce of egg substitutes. There, I said it.

“How does chickpea juice work to replace eggs?” I hear you question. Well, to be truthful, I was wondering as well and here is what I found out after reading quite a lot about it. When chickpeas are cooked in water, various elements migrate from the seeds to the water in the process (proteins, starches…).  Just like pasta water is great for thickening sauces, the cooking liquid of chickpeas can be used as a thickener. It can also act as a gelatine replacement (think marshmallows here), egg replacer (cakes, meringues, vegan macarons), a binding ingredient (mayonnaise, cake), or even as a base for butter or cheese.

Managing to make meringues for my little girl who is allergic to wheat, eggs and nuts is my biggest success to date in the kitchen as an allergy mum. It might even top my pancake successes (and there have been a few!). If you are egg-free or know anyone who cannot have eggs, this will change your life! No doubt about it.

3-Ingredient Vegan Meringues & Vegan Pavlovas Using Aquafaba - About to Go in the Oven
Another worry I had when I started whisking was the taste. I like chickpeas, but the thought my meringues might taste like the legume was not appealing. I half-dismissed the idea, half-embraced it as I was spooning the mixture into my icing bag.

3-Ingredient Vegan Meringues & Vegan Pavlovas Using Aquafaba - Piping Bag

Whilst we are on that subject, if you want to make your life easy, place your icing bag in a pint glass to make filling easy and mess-free.

3-Ingredient Vegan Meringues & Vegan Pavlovas Using Aquafaba - Filling Piping Bag
Meringues my little girl could try. How exciting would that be if it really worked? If it did not, all it would cost me would be a tin of unsalted chickpeas (43p) from Waitrose. I would use the chickpeas to make houmous anyway so there would be no harm done if my attempt was a failure. Let me tell you something: it was not. Our vegan meringues tasted delicious. They had a slight nutty taste, but my taste-testers all agreed they were yummy (yippee!). If you wanted to hide the hints of nuttiness, you could just add a bit of vanilla extract to the meringue.

Before I got started (sorry, I digress), I looked into it a bit (Pinterest research, évidemment!), but the simple recipes did not come out looking like ‘real” meringue nests, and other recipes went against all my principles with their silly ingredients (arrowroot powder, cider vinegar) and mentions of ‘temperamental meringues’ (does not bode well!). I used to trust pretty-looking photos of food on Pinterest, but after a few Pinterest-fails, I now trust my instincts a lot more.

After a while, I just decided to ‘freestyle’ and try to make the meringues the way I always have, taking into account advice my friend Charlotte had written about making ‘normal’ meringues (keep oven closed until meringues are cold, use a star nozzle on her piping bag). I went for 3 ingredients only: unsalted chickpea brine, caster sugar and cream of tartar (optional, but it helps make the meringues light and fluffy).

3-Ingredient Vegan Meringues & Vegan Pavlovas Using Aquafaba - Beanie

Beanie (5 years 9 months) really enjoyed piping mini meringues in between the meringue nests I was making for our pavlovas.

3-Ingredient Vegan Meringues & Vegan Pavlovas Using Aquafaba - My Little Helper

To make mini pavlovas, simply whisk double cream (or the creamy part of a can of coconut milk chilled overnight for a dairy-free alternative) and add sliced strawberries on top.

3-Ingredient Vegan Meringues & Vegan Pavlovas Using Aquafaba - Pavlova

5 from 1 vote
Print

3-Ingredient Vegan Meringues & Vegan Pavlovas Using Aquafaba

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup unsalted chickpea cooking liquid 150ml, aquafaba
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup caster sugar 200g

Instructions

  1. Start by preheating your oven on very low (gas mark ¼ / 100°C / 210°F).
  2. Place the aquafaba in a large bowl. Using a handheld electric whisk, beat on the lowest speed until it gets foamy (2 minutes), then increase the speed to medium/high.
  3. About 2 minutes later, the foamy mixture should be getting thicker. As you are still whisking, add the cream of tartar (& vanilla extract if using it).
  4. Soft peaks should be starting to form. Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. Once all the sugar has been added, the silky meringue should form stiff peaks.
  5. Place your piping bag inside a pint glass for easy filling and then line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Pipe 6 individual meringue nests on each tray and a few mini meringues and place in the oven.
  6. Bake for 90 minutes without opening the oven door. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues to cool in there (door still shut).
  7. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

You can keep the meringues in an airtight container or freeze them.

Save me on Pinterest if you like me!

Easiest Vegan Meringues

 

As my lovely friend Vicki has been busy filming with Jamie Oliver (!!!), I am hosting #TastyTuesdays for her this week. Feel free to link up your recipes and restaurant reviews and share the linky love!

 

[inlinkz_linkup id=644253 mode=1]

32 Comments

  1. Lins @ Boo & Maddie
    06/07/2016 / 5:52 pm

    Wow, safe to say I have never heard of this before but those meringues look so good so it must work! X #TastyTuesday

    • Mel
      Author
      08/07/2016 / 7:26 pm

      Thanks lovely! To be honest, I wouldn’t even have thought of trying had my girl not been severely allergic to eggs.

  2. Viv'Maman_Bas
    06/07/2016 / 8:38 pm

    Aquafaba!! Haha j’aurais appris quelque chose 🙂

    • Mel
      Author
      08/07/2016 / 8:42 am

      On apprend tous les jours! Alors maintenant un petit challenge pour toi. Comment tu nous traduis « aquafaba » en français ?

  3. susankmann
    07/07/2016 / 4:47 pm

    Wow these look amazing lovely. Really simple to make, but look fab x

    • Mel
      Author
      08/07/2016 / 8:40 am

      Thanks sweetie xxx

  4. jen
    15/08/2017 / 3:32 am

    Help! My pavlova keeps deflatng in the oven afer 60 or 90 min. I am using a different recipe than yours though. Have you had any issue?

    I have clean equip with no oils, whiped slowly inc speed to soft peaks (with vinegar), adding fine sugar & other dry ingr. until stiff glossy peaks. pop in the oven at 275 and immediately reduce to 250. It all starts out well, but about 45 min in starts to deflate, and then by 90 min, it’s flat and burnt. Tested the oven temp – it’s accurate. Help! what am I doing wrong? How do I fix it?

    here are the instructions I followed:

    INGREDIENTS
    for the meringue base:
    brine from one 15-ounce can of unsalted or low sodium chickpeas (I used Trader Joe’s organic), chilled
    1 cup vegan fine white sugar
    1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
    pinch fine grain sea salt
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
    for the topping:
    coconut whipped cream
    2½ cups sliced berries/fresh fruit
    INSTRUCTIONS
    Preheat the oven to 275°F. Trace an 8″ circle on a piece of parchment paper (I used a cake pan as a guide). Flip the parchment paper over and line a baking sheet with it. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, arrowroot powder and salt. Set aside.
    Pour the chickpea brine into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at low speed, then slowly increase the speed to high. Beat for 5 minutes, until soft peaks have formed and the mixture has become very light and fluffy (it should expand to more than quadruple in size). Turn the speed down to medium-high and start adding the sugar one heaping tablespoon at a time. Once all of the sugar has been added, increase the speed back to the highest setting. Continue to whip until stiff, glossy peaks form and hold their shape (about 3 minutes). You should be able to hold the mixing bowl upside down and have the meringue stay in place. Stop the mixer and pour in the vanilla and vinegar. Beat for another 10-15 seconds until incorporated.
    Use a spatula or fill a piping bag (fitted with a large star attachment to create lines) and place the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet in the center of the circle working outward. You’ll want to do this immediately after whipping the meringue so it doesn’t deflate. If using a spatula, spread the meringue to fill the circle. The edges should be higher than the center to make a nest for the filling. To do this, simply pipe an extra round or two around the edges, or if using a spatula, take a spoon and gently create a well in the center. You can smooth out the sides or leave them as-is for a more rustic pavlova.
    Put the meringue in the oven to bake and immediately turn down the heat to 250°F. Bake for 2-2.5 hours, or until the outside is dry to the touch and ever so slightly browned. The pavlova should sound hollow when very lightly tapped. Turn off the oven, leaving the pavlova inside to cool completely.
    Just prior to serving, spread the coconut whipped cream over the pavlova and top with your favorite fruit. Serve immediately.

    • Mel
      Author
      15/08/2017 / 9:29 am

      Hi Jen, I haven’t had any issues with my own recipes, which is a lot simpler than the one you have been using. I definitely wouldn’t be using vinegar in meringues! The only thing I can think of re. deflating is not keeping the oven firmly shut. Do you always resist opening the door of your oven? It’s really important not to pop it open until the meringues are cool.

  5. Jill
    14/11/2018 / 12:22 am

    5 stars
    Doing a test drive before Thanksgiving. Used a mini food processor to dine grind my caster sugar. I made a half recipe and scooped out a 1/4 cup of meringue for each pavlova with an ice cream scoop. I created an indentation with a spoon and rubber spatula. Look and taste delicious. Filled with aquafaba chocolate mousse and mixed berries. I think I’ve got a winner dessert!

    • Mel
      Author
      14/11/2018 / 11:30 am

      I always do that too when I forget to buy icing sugar 🙂 Oh my goodness, your Thanksgiving dessert sounds like heaven on a plate!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.