Dairy free, plant-based delicious meringue
One of my most longed for desserts is a summery Eton Mess. But how do you get your Eton Mess fix without eggs and dairy?
Step forward the aqua faba meringue. Aqua faba translates as ‘bean water’ and is literally the brine in a can of beans such as chick peas which is often discarded. Not all bean water is created equal – you are looking for a brine which is slightly thicker and gloopy which resembles egg white rather than a thinner brine. The brine from cans of chickpeas, butter beans and cannellini beans work well.
If you have a Kitchenaid or Kenwood mixer, now is the time to use it. The whisk makes light work of this and you can turn the machine on and leave it for several minutes whilst it works its magic.
You may weep at all the potential meringues you’ve been throwing down the sink.
The aqua faba meringue recipe also works well with a sweet cashew and coconut based whipped chantilly and strawberries.
I’ve made this Eton Mess by combining aqua faba meringues with raw coconut yoghurt and crushed berries, but you could add any raw plant-based chantilly cream and fruit combo.
Photographer: Dawn Langley
I’ve made larger meringues which resemble a pavlova and also smaller meringues which are decorations on more intricate desserts.
Memories of a Sherbet Fountain (with aqua faba meringue) – a dessert from the Raw Pastry Chef Training
Aqua Faba Meringue
Makes 9 meringues
6 tablespoons finely ground maple or coconut sugar
Brine from a 400g tin of chick peas or butter beans
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla powder
Pinch beetroot or raspberry powder
1. Grind the maple sugar or coconut sugar until it forms a fine sugar
2. Whisk together the chick pea/ butterbean brine with the cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks.
3. Fold in the maple/coconut sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture is stiff.
4. Fold in the vanilla, lemon juice and salt
5. Gently fold in the sifted beetroot or raspberry powder so it forms flecks of pink.
6. Dollop 9 meringues onto a non-stick teflex sheet and dehydrate at 155F for 4-6 hours until dry. Alternatively, you can pipe them onto a lined baking tray and bake in an oven at 110C for 1 ½ hours. Then, turn the oven off and leave them to dry out until the oven is cool.
8. Store in an airtight tin for up to a week.
These are baby meringues for the sherbet fountain dessert.
To prepare the macerated berries
• ½ cup mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, summer fruits)
Crush the berries with the back of a fork adding a sprinkling of coconut sugar if liked to help draw out the juices and create a syrup. Leave to macerate for 10 minutes.
To assemble the Eton Mess (per glass)
• 1 or 2 lightly crushed meringues
• ½ cup of bought or homemade coconut yoghurt
• ½ cup of macerated berries
In a bowl, fold together the lightly crushed meringues with the coconut yoghurt and macerated berries.
Spoon into glasses.