I was browsing Facebook and had joined a group, Vegan Meringue- Hits and Misses! This group works with, among other foods, a food called aquafaba, which is bean juice from the can. It’s a remarkable substitute for egg in a lot of foods and recipes. I was excited to discover this, along with the thousands of others in the group.
At the time meringues were a common food to make with the aquafaba. I thought I’d try my hand at making these, with a little twist. Many of the people making them seemed to have mixed reviews on the structural integrity of the meringue. Some had stiff peaks and smooth finishes, but after removal from the oven the meringue would soon ‘fall’ or turn very soft after some time. Others had successful recipes while other had a lot of fails.
So I did an experiment using the recipe in that group’s files with the addition of bamboo charcoal. Before baking, the meringues were already very stiff, when I finally removed them from the oven, they hadn’t changed at all. They looked identical after as they had before. I was excited! They were firm, yet soft-melt-in-your-mouth, solid, and after two weeks they were still the same firmness. The bamboo charcoal, while adding a grey color, do not add noticeable texture or flavor. These were just as sweet as more traditionally made meringue!
Below is the adapted recipe.
BASIC MERINGUE RECIPE
Aquafaba -Liquid drained from one 15 oz. can of unsalted chickpeas.
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 tsp. bamboo charcoal
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 100 degrees C or 200 degrees F. Drain and measure the chickpea liquid, and place into a saucepan. Add the sugar and bamboo charcoal to the liquid and stir to mix. Boil the mixture, watching VERY CAREFULLY AT ALL TIMES to be sure it doesn’t boil over, and stirring and adjusting the heat as needed, until the liquid is reduced about halfway (does not need to be exact).
Pour the mixture into a metal mixing bowl and start beating (I used a kitchen-aid), slowly at first, then increasing speed as the mixture cools and starts foaming. Beat until stiff peaks form (this will take several minutes), then beat in the vanilla extract.
Using a piping bag or a spoon, place dollops onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Immediately place into the preheated oven, and set a timer for at least an hour. Your baking time will vary depending on the size of your meringues. It is safe to open the oven door and touch the meringues after about an hour. They will be done when they feel dry all the way through and very light. When you think they are done, turn off the oven and leave them in until the oven cools. Store in an airtight container.