Day 4 and the grand finale of our Very Vegan Christmas feast. I am totally going to play favorites here and say this is my favorite recipe of the lot (ya…I’m a sucker for desserts)

Did you know you can make vegan meringue from tinned chickpea liquid? Yes, I know, what a time to be alive! That being said it does require a little more patience than an egg based meringue, but the result is truly incredible, and indistinguishable from an egg based meringue. No friends, this will definitely NOT taste like chickpeas!

Chickpea liquid used in cooking is commonly known as aquafaba, and is a recent discovery as far as cooking techniques go. As with any meringue, it’s inherently simple, but getting this right requires adhering to the recipe, so taking shortcuts will only lead to undesirable results. Approach this baby as you would a risotto- give it some love, patience and time and you have a winning final product.

This final iteration of my vegan meringue recipe is the result of quite a few of my own failed attempts, where I tried to rush the process of adding the sugar, didn’t add an acid or cooked the meringue at too high a temperature. I have finally settled on a super simple recipe for vegan meringue, using only 4 ingredients! The active time for cooking this recipe is just 30 minutes, before the meringues get popped into a very low oven to cook for a few hours. Then you turn off the oven, leaving them to cool slowly inside and ta dah- vegan meringue. Top these with coconut whipping cream and berries (or any fruit really), and you have one of my all time favorite vegan desserts- Vegan Pavlova

This recipe is make-ahead friendly, so you can pre-make these up to 3 days in advance. Just be sure to store the cooled meringues, without any berries and cream, in an airtight container to prevent them going soft.

Essential Tips for Success:

Go slow – the sugar has to be added slowly over 20 minutes. Trust me. Put a Netflix series on, and settle in.

Don’t skip the lemon juice/cream of tartar – this gives the mixture its strength, and prevents the baked meringues from collapsing.

Use a super clean and dry glass or metal bowl – fat and water are the enemy here, and plastic bowls can lead to undesirable results.

Cook everything slowly – 100C and no higher

Chickpeas – I have found Woolworths, and Pot o’ Gold brand work the best

Let the meringues cool in the oven – drying out the meringues slowly, will prevent them cracking and collapsing in the middle. If you have a few cracks, don’t worry, they will still taste amazing.

Coconut whipping cream – This can be found at Wellness Warehouse, under the Nature’s Charm brand and is essentially just a high fat coconut cream. If you can’t get this, a tin of coconut cream will do just fine, but you will get slightly less “cream” out of it

With a short bit of work you are going to have an absolute cracker of a finale for your Vegan Christmas.

Vegan Mini Pavlovas

Makes 10-12 meringues

Ingredients:

For the Meringue

1 can of chickpeas (see notes)

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp cream of tartar OR 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Pavlova

1 Can Natures Charm coconut whipping cream

400g Berries of choice (I like these)

1 sachet of berry coulis (or make your own)

Method:

Pop your coconut whipping cream or coconut cream into the fridge to chill for at least 5 hours. You can also speed this up by placing it in the freezer for 45 minutes and then moving it to the fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to a 100 degrees Celsius and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Next, drain your chickpeas, reserving 1/2 cup liquid from the can. Save the chickpeas for another use (like my carrot or beet hummus). Pour the chickpea liquid into a bowl and add the cream of tartar (or lemon juice).

Beat the mixture using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. This means the mixture can hold its shape, and when you remove the beater from the mixture an upright peak should appear. If you need more help, click here.

Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating continuously on a high speed, for 20 minutes. Add your last bit of sugar at the 16 minute mark, so that the sugar can dissolve into the aquafaba for 20 minutes, leaving you with a glossy, creamy meringue. 

Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe into small circles, about 5cm in diameter, onto the prepared baking sheet. If you need help, I have linked a video here where egg based meringues are piped out, however the technique is exactly the same (skip to 1:24). If you don’t have a piping bag, no worries! Just scoop out blobs and form them free hand with a spoon into little baskets.

Bake in the preheated oven until meringues are firm and come away easily from the parchment paper, for about 2 hours. Turn off the oven, and forget about them, until the oven cools completely (this slow cooling process prevents cracks!)

Once you are ready to serve, take the coconut whipping cream out the fridge. Spoon the solid coconut cream into a bowl, leaving behind the clear runny liquid for another use. Whip the coconut cream for 2 minutes until thick and combined. Spoon the thick cream over the pavlovas, top with a few berries and drizzle over the berry coulis.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Thats a wrap friends. Happy happy Christmas! See you all again in the new year