I’ve been seeing the term Chickpea Meringue popping up across my feeds for a while now, and with the trend of food-hack clickbait at its height, I was quite dubious – there’s no way that this chickpea liquid that I immediately throw away could be used to make one of my favourite desserts. But the chef in me was intrigued by the concept so I set out to do my research and get my experiment on.
And it was actually already quite a known concept, amongst the vegan community. The quite fancy sounding term Aquafaba – which roughly translates to ‘bean water’ can be used as a replacement for egg whites in dishes such as meringues, mousses, ice-creams, mayonnaise and more.
This magical sounding liquid, which can be found in the cans and boxes of beans (such as cannellini or butter) and other legumes (such as chickpea) or left over from cooking your own can be baked, whipped and used to create all different kinds of delicious treats, both sweet and savoury. There is even speculation that you can use soy, packaged tofu water or pea water but I’m yet to sample with other liquids just yet – chickpea was already unique enough.
Unlike normal egg whites, aquafaba doesn’t coagulate so you are able to heat and cool as and when needed, it also doesn’t over whip which means when you are experimenting you can trial and error without worrying about messing the final product up.
I wanted to stick with a simple meringue recipe using the chickpea liquid and the final result is one that did not disappoint, the method mimicked that of a normal meringue but resulted in the most beautiful light and soft meringue I have ever seen. Once baked it kept its light and airy consistency which I used to sandwich my leftover Salted Peanut Carmel from my Snickers/Bounty bars. And the flavour, was spot on. Chickpea liquid can almost resemble that of cat food, with its pungent scent but once mixed and baked is almost undetectable, in fact, it gives a slightly more caramelised colour and taste, imo.
I used a little lemon juice as an acidic stabiliser to keep the meringue mixture together, but you can use cream of tartar, spirit vinegar or skip this step completely. As long as your equipment is completely clean and free of oil/fat the acid isn’t really necessary to form foam-ation, but I wasn’t taking any chances on something so unfamiliar.
CHICKPEA MERINGUE KISSES
Makes: 25 cookies
Time to Make: 2 hours.
400g Can of Chickpeas
100g Caster Sugar
1tsp Lemon Juice/ Vinegar or 1/4 tsp of Cream of Tartar.
Heat your oven to 110c and line your baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Drain your can of chickpeas into a bowl to preserve the liquid and keep your chickpeas for another recipe, such as my Chickpea Cookie Dough Bites.
Add your acid into the bowl.
In your stand mixer, or using a hand whisk, whisk your liquids until at a soft peak.
Once at a soft peak, add in your sugar one spoon at a time, whisking each time to ensure fully combined. This will create a thick and glossy mixture.
Once all your sugar is added, keep whisking until your mixture is at a hard peak. This is when you lift your whisk out and the mixture peak stays – or when you tip the bowl the mixture also stays put.
Spoon your mixture into a piping bag and pipe small blobs of meringue lifting your piping bag at the end to create the ‘kiss/tail’. – Alternatively, spoon onto your tray.
Bake for 1hour 15minutes until crisp. Turn the oven off and leave your meringues in the oven for a further 30 minutes.
Leave to cool then fill with soya cream, fruit or a salted peanut caramel which can be found here.