FINALLY, IT’S VEGAN ITALIAN MERINGUE!
Now it’s possible to make all of your favourite dishes using silky sweet Italian meringue without even cracking an egg! This recipe is vegan-friendly, egg-free, dairy-free, soya-free and gluten-free! This meringue is made from a clever ingredient – aquafaba.
WHAT IS AQUAFABA?
Aquafaba is the viscous liquid leftover from cooking chickpeas or other white legumes. Sounds yucky? I thought so too, but honestly, you won’t be able to taste it at all! The flavour is completely neutral once whipped up and the substance will take on the flavour and sweetness of the sugar you’re using.
Aquafaba is an innovative alternative to using egg whites which are traditionally used for meringue recipes. It can be used to make cakes and brownies, marshmallows, meringues and many other vegan-friendly versions of classic desserts and treats!
WHAT IS ITALIAN MERINGUE?
Italian meringue involves whisking your protein, aquafaba, to stiff peaks. Then hot sugar syrup is added to the mixture, which is the main difference between Italian and French meringue, which is made by whisking in regular sugar granules. The sugar syrup is heated to 240°F and then adding to the whipped aquafaba to create a stable and viscous meringue which holds it’s shape and is perfect as a topping for many desserts.
WHY USE AQUAFABA AND NOT EGG WHITES?
Won’t there be a decrease in the overall quality of the end dish?
This is a common concern, as many of us have learned how to make and create using eggs as the protein source, it’s natural to be apprehensive about new alternatives. In short the answer is no! It just takes a little bit of practice to become familiar with aquafaba and how it performs – and even better there are hundreds, even thousands of recipes on the internet now which have already done all of the hard work of figuring it out for you 🙂
In fact, I recently visited my old college where I had studied culinary arts, and my past lecturer from there was excited to tell me that she now uses aquafaba in place of egg whites when teaching students how to make meringue.
It’s safer to eat than eggs!
Some meringues aren’t fully cooked and therefor any pathogens that are naturally present in eggs aren’t killed off during the cooking process. Aquafaba is safe to eat without cooking it first!
It’s easier to work with!
Aquafaba is much more forgiving to work with than egg whites, in that it’s almost impossible to over whisk it – unlike eggs which will separate and curdle if you over do it.
But I usually use eggs to make meringue, so why should I use aquafaba instead?
Above all else, here is the main reason why I don’t use eggs.
“Domesticated hens have been selectively bred to lay between 260 to 300 eggs a year. As a result of being genetically manipulated to produce an unnaturally large number of unnaturally large eggs, laying hens suffer from a host of crippling disorders of the reproductive tract, many of which can be fatal.” – Exert taken from peacefulprairie.org’s article “What’s Wrong with Backyard Eggs?” which I would highly recommend reading if you’d like to learn more about the global egg industry, including backyard hens.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN ITALIAN MERINGUE
PREPARE THE AQUAFABA
Take a large clean bowl, making sure it’s completely dry and free of grease. Add the aquafaba and cream of tartar to a large bowl and whisk on high heat for 10 minutes until soft peaks form.
PREPARE THE SUGAR SYRUP
Add the caster sugar and water to a saucepan and gently stir. Allow the mixture to sit for a minute until the sugar dissolves into a paste.
If you aren’t using a candy thermometer, take a glass and fill it halfway with water, set aside for testing the sugar syrup later.
Place the saucepan on a medium-high heat and allow the mixture to come to a simmer and bubble. DO NOT STIR the mixture throughout the entire process, just don’t be tempted – it will ruin the mix! You can use a wet pastry brush to brush down the edges if the sugar is sticking to the side of the pan – personally I haven’t found this necessary, as long as you have combined the sugar and water well before heating you should be good.
Place your candy thermometer into the syrup and continue to simmer until the mixture reaches 116°C (240°F) – about 10-12 minutes. If you aren’t using a candy thermometer, see soft ball method of testing the syrup below.
SOFT BALL STAGE
If you don’t have a candy thermometer and are happy to dive in and get to making your meringue (whilst keeping a watchful eye on it), you can use something call the soft ball method. It involves testing a small amount of the sugar syrup by adding it to cold water. The syrup should roll into a malleable ball between your fingers but you should still be able to squeeze it out of shape. The amount of time the sugar syrup takes to reach this point varies, but I would generally start testing periodically after 7 minutes, although it could take 10-15 minutes to reach this stage so you’ll need to be careful.
COMBINE THE SUGAR SYRUP AND AQUAFABA
Once the sugar syrup has reached the correct temperature begin to add it to the whipped aquafaba and continue to whisk until the mixture is incorporated.
Whisk the aquafaba mixture for another 5 minutes before transferring it to a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of choice.
Use the Italian meringue as a topping for brownies, baked Alaska and other desserts.
TIPS FOR THE PERFECT ITALIAN MERINGUE
Using a candy thermometer will ensure that you get the exact temperature required to make the perfect meringue. Although it’s possible to make Italian meringue without a thermometer, it’s much easier to do it with one! You can pick up a candy thermometer for relatively cheap online like this one.
IF YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE, YOU SHOULD TRY SOME OF MY OTHER RECIPES USING ITALIAN MERINGUE
- VEGAN ITALIAN MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
- VEGAN BAKED ALASKA
- STRAWBERRY SLUSHIES WITH ITALIAN MERINGUE FROSTING
Vegan Italian Meringue
- Electric whisk or stand mixer
- Candy thermometer
- 200 g caster sugar
- 60 ml water
- 100 g aquafaba *see notes
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- Take a large clean bowl, making sure it's completely dry and free of grease. Add the aquafaba and cream of tartar to a large bowl and whisk on high speed for 10 minutes until soft peaks form.
- Add the caster sugar and water to a saucepan, gently stir and allow the mixture to sit for a minute until the sugar dissolves into a paste.
- Place the saucepan on a medium-high heat and allow the mixture to come to a simmer and bubble. DO NOT STIR throughout the entire process. Place your candy thermometer into the syrup and continue to simmer until the mixture reaches 116°C (240°F) - about 10-12 minutes.
- Once the sugar syrup has reached the correct temperature begin to add it to the whipped aquafaba. Slowly drizzle in a little at a time and continue to whisk until the mixture is incorporated.
- Whisk the aquafaba mixture for another 5 minutes before transferring it to a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of choice.
- Use the Italian meringue as a topping for brownies, baked Alaska and other desserts.
- You can store this meringue in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours before use.