Vegan meringue kisses
If I ever went vegan (and that's not likely to happen any time soon...), the one thing I'd really miss, baking-wise, is meringue. Those delicious pillow-like clouds of sugar, with a chewy caramelised middle and delicate crunchy edges... oh my. Vegan baking is brilliant these days, but there's not much it can do in the way of replicating a good meringue... Or is there?
Because these vegan meringue kisses, made with chickpea water - also known as 'aquafaba' - are pretty indistinguishable from the real deal. You can drain the viscous liquid (used to pre-cook legumes such as chickpeas) out of the can and, because it's thick with carbs, proteins and other soluble plant extracts, it mimics egg white - without the need for the egg.
All you need to do is whip it up, add some sugar and tint it with gel food colouring... et voilà! Pretty pillowy meringues, made with three ingredients AND vegan-friendly.
Water from 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas (approx 120-130ml)
120g caster sugar
Few drops of gel food colouring
Preheat the oven to 120C (fan 100C) and line a flat baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.
Drain the chickpea water into a bowl. Keep the chickpeas for another day – they make a great hummus or can be stirred into soups or stews.
Using an electric whisk, beat the liquid until it forms stiff peaks. This will take at least 5-6 minutes, but don’t worry – you can’t over-whip it. Test the consistency by holding the bowl over your head.
Add the sugar, slowly, continuing to beat the mixture. It should turn stiff and shiny.
Take a medium ziplock bag and drizzle a few drops of food colouring down the insides of the bag. Spoon the meringue mix into the bag, allowing the colour to infuse.
Snip the corner off the bag (a few centimetres is enough) and squeeze blobs of the mix – around the size of ping pong balls – on to the tray. Leave 2cm gaps between them.
Bake the kisses for 75 minutes and then leave in the oven, with the door slightly ajar, for another half an hour. Once cool, they’ll keep in an airtight tin for a couple of days.
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