I have to study for exams, so naturally I’m procrastinating and thought this would be the perfect time to share something truly delicious 😉 I’ve seen these sorts of treats at the Saturday food market and have quizzed the poor person a few times on how she made hers (which aren’t vegan), but of course I had to veganize it eventually and here it is! Delicious, actually easy, and all done with just a bit of patience 🙂I’m getting too old for exams but hopefully these should be the last ever… for now. I somehow always get sucked back into studying, but hopefully if I don’t make a twit of myself I should have two more degrees by the end of this semester or year, so fingers crossed! I’m actually pretty good at it once I get into the swing of things, but starting is always the hardest part.Same goes for these meringue baubles, which I had procrastinated over for a few months but, when it came down to it, weren’t worth the angst at all! I’ve made meringues a few times now so luckily I didn’t fear that part as much as the assembly, but all for nothing. I’ll share at the end how I prefer these for munching but needless to say they are an awesome treat to share with those who don’t know about the magic of aquafaba!Before you start this project keep in mind that it is essentially a two-day sojourn into meringue making and all its glory, so please don’t have spur of the moment picnics or some such with this in mind as your big hurrah. :pIngredients (makes 9 chocolate meringue baubles and 10 or so basic meringues):
- 1 can’s worth of chilled chickpea brine (you can also use the brine of other white beans)
- 1 cup vegan castor sugar (or finely blended sugar)
- 1 tsp tartar powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups diced steamed sweet potatoes (chilled)
- 2 TBSP almond or nut butter (optional, see notes)
- 3 TBSP liquid sweetener of choice
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp cacao powder
- nuts and cocoa powder for sprinkling
(I suggest you check out this post to look up the tips I jotted down for “fail-proof” meringues if it’s your first time making them)
(For those of you who are making this in the blazing summer heat I suggest working in front of a fan so that the temperature remains relatively stable since the heat of the handheld or stand whisker may impact how quickly your mixture creates stiff peaks)
- In a large (preferably slightly chilled) metal bowl with an electric hand mixer or a standing mixer with balloon whisk, whisk the brine for approximately 5 – 6 minutes until it forms a thickish white foam, almost triple the original size. It may still gloop slightly off the beaters, that’s fine.
- Add the cream of tartar and beat until it starts to form nice peaks – if you run your switched off whisker through the “batter” the batter should hold relatively well but will still drip in blobs off the whisk.
- Start preheating the oven to 90C and line baking trays with unsprayed baking paper (not wax).
- Add the castor sugar 1/4 cup at a time and beat until it is thick and forms stiff peaks – you should be able to shake your beater slightly and not have anything come off and if you run your handheld whisker through it should retain the shape of the movement without the mixture oozing back into the folds; the mixture will also *feel* thick if you use handheld. Make sure that if you’re beating by hand you move the whisker around so that everything is incorporated.
- Add in the vanilla and beat back into super stiff peaks.
- For the baubles take a clean, dry spoon and create heaped blobs on your baking paper – I used about 2 – 3 heaped TBSP-sized measures per bauble. You can make them as big or small as you like. If you want you can also pipe “nests” for the bottom and peaked tops instead of the chunky-looking baubles.
- Crush some nuts or seeds and sprinkle them over your tops and splash some cocoa on top.
- Bake for 1/2 an hour on 90C, then increase to 100C and bake for another hour, then leave it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours until firm and crisp or overnight if possible. I would suggest not faffing and opening and closing the oven door.
- Keep in mind that the temperature/climate you’re baking in could affect your meringues, so if it’s super hot and muggy keep them overnight in the oven since fluctuating room temperatures may make them soft or change the texture.
- Store your meringues in a container in a cool place (NOT the fridge) until you are ready to plate and serve (not before).
- When ready to serve, blend your filling ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
- Spread in between your baubles and serve. Store any leftover meringues and filling separately.
a. Meringues react to fat, which is why you assemble right before eating. If you assemble and put the filled baubles in the fridge they will start to “melt” and form an incredibly soft texture and begin to disintegrate. This sounds (and looks) a bit weird and off-putting but it is actually amazingly delicious for the brave of heart. I suggest trying one in the fridge for a few hours and serving it over nice-cream for absolute indulgence and tastiness.
b. I have not tried it but if you want to keep your baubles firm at room temperature for longer (say assembling and driving to your magical picnic) you can replace the nut or seed butter with soy or rice milk (not any nut milk). I cannot guarantee it but I suspect it will hold together better for longer, but again over time any filling does soften the meringue baubles somewhat, which IMO is not a bad thing.
These were seriously amazing! When they’re first assembled they can appear a bit hard, but that’s meringues for you, and which is why I preferred them in the fridge, even though they looked super awkward and sort of “swimming” in the tupperware. The filling kept each bauble together in the fridge though, and I’m sorely tempted to place the baubles as is between layers of custard for the ultimate trifle. 😀I could lie and say I don’t have a sweet tooth with age, but it’s actually more a question of changing tastes. As much as I enjoyed these I could only eat half a bauble at a time, because they are quite big and filling, and also the sugar! I’m so used to natural sugars that it’s always a bit of a shock to eat other types, but intermittent spats of indulgence are where it’s at, because then you can enjoy the pants off the dish.
Anyway, I guess I have to go study like an adult and all that 😦 At least I have shiny in the house for my breaks: four amazing foster kittens that I fetched yesterday! You’ll be seeing lots of Kiwi, Peanut, Marmite and Raisin in the weeks to come because they are bouncy as can be and so incredibly cute. 😀