I have been intrigued by the latest phenomenon that’s been taking the world by stiff peaks, I mean by storm. You may have read about it in Erin’s recent post here, where she began experimenting with “egg-free meringues”. Or, if you have connected with Bakelife on Facebook, then you may have seen the articles I’ve shared from the New York Times, Bon Appetit, and The Urban List and read a bit about why every vegan you may not know is jumping onto the bandwagon and experimenting with this miracle ingredient. Or you may be a member of the wonderful Facebook group Vegan Meringue Hits – Hits and Misses! and already know about this curious ingredient. 

I finally had a reason to give it a go. A friend was having a BBQ at hers and I offered to bring dessert. We make hummous a lot as the kids love it for their school snack so I always have one or two cans of chickpeas in the pantry. I trawled through the Meringue Hits & Misses Facebook group for an easy beginner recipe as well as Google and decided on this one by Vegans on Top.

There were many great recipes online and for those that want to try, here are some to get you started:

And even this “Fair Dinkum Aussie Pavlova” with a crisp outer shell and the soft marshmallowy middle by Plantified. I’d love to try this one, one day, but it involves a bit more time, detail and ingredients (Gellan what??). I went with the one that I thought I could best replicate at home without buying any additional flours, starches or gels. 

It was simple enough to whip up but you will need a few hours at home as the pavlova needs time to dry out at very low heat in the oven.

Ingredients (makes one medium sized Pavlova base or 150 small meringue kisses)

  • 125 ml. aquafaba
  • 200 grams white sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp high quality vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 80 degrees C. 
  2. Get your tray ready with baking paper and trace out a circle – about the size of a regular sized cake tin. 
  3. Whip aquafaba in  your mixer or use your handheld and beat at high speed until the brine starts to become soft peaks.
  4. Add sugar, a tablespoon at a time and continue whipping for about 10 minutes. Once it is stable and shows some stiff peaks, add the lemon, corn starch and vanilla extract. Beat for a few minutes longer so it’s all incorporated and the aquafaba sticks to the bowl when you hold it upside down. The great thing about aquafaba is that you can’t overbeat it unlike egg whites. 
  5. Using a spatula, gently place your whipped aquafaba (or meringue) on to the circle and spread it out evenly. 

Now for the baking time. Original recipe suggests 2.5-3 hrs baking time for the small meringue kisses. I baked mine for about 3.5-4 hrs and they were dry to touch when I brought them out to cool. They seemed fragile so I didn’t try to move them off the baking paper yet. What then happened was once they had cooled (and deflated somewhat, which I expected based on others’ experiences in the Meringue Hit & Misses FB group), as I tried to slide them off the baking paper, they felt wet and stuck! I stuck them in oven again at the same low temperature for another 30 minutes and left one overnight with the oven off to dry off while the other cooled and covered. When I checked the next day, they were still stuck! No problem I thought, I will just decorate and serve them on the baking paper.

With the recipe above, I made two pavlova bases – as insurance as I wasn’t sure if the first one would turn out and if it did I could just double layer the pavlova to make it a larger (and prettier) serving.

Sugar, Lemon juice, Corn Starch, Aquafaba, Vanilla Essence

The beginning of the whipping of the Aquafaba
After the sugar has been added and whipped add the vanilla, lemon, and corn starch
Still going strong
Final whip
This is the first base ready to go into the oven
Second base whipped the next day ready to go into the oven. You can see the first one at the top of the image. Deflated but still looks okay. 
Here is the second one on the right after 4.5hrs baking at low temp. Seems to hold shape slightly better but the bottom still a bit soft so I let it dry on a wire rack to see if that would help. 

 

Close up – so delicate these things, they crack so easily!
This is how they looked later that day – so flat. 

For the coconut cream

  • 15 oz or 425 grams full fat coconut cream
  • 1 tbs caster sugar (I used icing sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence 

I doubled the above portions as I wanted to make sure I had enough for the centre layer and for the top. Make sure you chill the coconut cream overnight. All the recipes say that after chilling you should see the cream separated from the liquid, and that you scoop the cream into your bowl for whipping and leave the liquid out. Mine didn’t really separate so I just dumped the whole thing into the bowl, whipped it up with sugar and vanilla, then kept it chilled in a bottle until the BBQ.

When it was time to serve it up, it dawned on me that there was nothing I could do to decorate this in the way that I had planned. Both pavlova bases were stuck like glue to their baking paper. The only way to do it would be to deconstruct it. So that’s what I did. Using my plastic cake knife and cake server, I gently lifted the broken crispy meringue bits and placed them onto the makeshift dessert plates. Then with all my delicate power, scraped the gooey sticky bits stuck to the baking paper off and onto the plates. Spooned on some fruit, drizzled with coconut cream, additional crispy gooey bits of pav, then another drizzle of coconut cream. The yummiest vegan pav anyone there had ever tasted. I did find the pavlova a bit sandy and I have no idea why. But the coconut cream was delish and definitely a winner to balance the sweetness. Will have to try again. Suspect the size of the pavlova may have needed more or less time in oven, but let’s see.

Now the whipping of aquafaba is pretty amazing. Here’s a little snippet to show you just how amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Responses

    1. Gibble Post author

      It was yummy, but texture felt a bit sandy?? Everyone loved it though and the coconut cream was the perfect balancer between the fruit and the pav.

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