These egg-free vegan meringues may be the ultimate something-for-nothing recipe. They taste like a melt-in-your-mouth lemon meringue pie. Instead of eggs, they use the broth left from cooking chickpeas. For flavoring, they use the zest from the lemons used to make hummus with those same chickpeas. Your only cost for these light, elegant treats is for vanilla and sugar. Try them as a light finale for a heavy holiday meal, with afternoon tea, or as holiday treats.
Organic Lemon Aquafaba Meringues
Active time: 25 minutes. Total time: 2 hours. Makes about 60 meringues.
- 1/2 cup home-made aquafaba from dried chickpeas or liquid from a BPA-free can of organic chickpeas, chilled
- 2/3 cup sugar (133 grams)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest, loosely packed (the zest from two lemons)
- Heat oven to 250°F with racks in the center positions. Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Put strained and chilled aquafaba into a mixing bowl and whip on high using a whisk attachment if you have one until stiff peaks form. This will take about 6 minutes with rich home-made aquafaba and up to 15 minutes with thinner aquafaba. It looks crazy, but I wear hearing-protection earmuffs while the mixer is running at high speed. Use them if you have them. You want to be able to hear people ooohh and aaahh at your creations!
- Add sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue whisking. Add vanilla and whisk until combined. Taste the fluff (it's safe -- no eggs!). If you feel any grittiness, whisk more. Sprinkle lemon zest over the whipped aquafaba and fold in gently using a spatula. You could use the whisk, but the zest will stick to it and causes a greater loss of volume.
- Drop globs of lemon aquafaba on the cookie sheets with a little swirling flourish. I get the right size from with a dining teaspoon. They don't spread, so you can space them closely.
- If you have a convection oven, bake at 225°F for 68 minutes using the convection setting. Otherwise, bake at 250°F for 90 minutes, rotating cookie sheets top to bottom and front to back after an hour. Meringues will become hard, with small bubbles on the outside. Turn off oven, crack the door, and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Use a thin metal spatula to remove meringues from cookie sheets. Serve at once or store in an air-tight container. I hear they will keep for months in very dry climates. I've never had them last longer than five days here and that was only as a test for this recipe.
- This is my variation on the original vegan merigue recipe by Goose Wohlt. He bakes them at 100°C/250°F. I started with a variation by someone else (sorry, I've lost that link) and have had good success with the higher temperature in a convection oven.
- Adding the lemon zest softens the aquafaba enough that the peaks melt down into mounds before the meringues harden, but they are still pretty. For peaks, replace the lemon zest with two more teaspoons of vanilla or a teaspoon of vanilla and a drop of peppermint oil.
- I use a stand mixer, but you could use a hand mixer or even a hand whisk if you have patience and strong arms. That's how the bakers for Marie Antoinette did it and possibly even Marie herself.