Toasted Coconut Meringues
This really has to be one of the top 10 vegan discoveries of the decade. Perhaps people have been doing it for far longer than that, but it’s in recent months that the news of chickpea liquid serving as a superior substitute to egg whites in the pursuit of the dainty meringue has really taken the vegan world by storm. I’ve had this recipe by the adorable Sam of vegan blog It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, bookmarked for months. And I’ve had a jar of chickpea liquid sitting in my fridge for weeks, just waiting for a day I could set aside to experiment. I’m happy to say that day has finally come.
Let’s face it: meringue isn’t the favorite food of most people. Personally, it reminds me of being a kid, sitting around some woman’s checkered-tablecloth-draped dining room table with my parents, half listening to the adult conversation going on around me and bored out of my mind. Maybe you have better associations with meringue but there you have it. Meringue is a sweet delicacy for sure, but would I choose it over a brownie or my all-time favorite lemon square? Definitely not.
And yet, the meringue represented epicurean territory not yet conquered by vegans. We’ve found healthy, compassionate alternatives to so many things but the egg white? That was a toughie. Until some ingenious person somewhere figured out that you could take the liquid from a can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, whip it up with cream of tartar and sugar, and concoct the delicate, pillowy yet crispy meringue. Epic.
This chickpea liquid is known as aquafaba. According to the official aquafaba web site, this amazing liquid embodies a wide spectrum of emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinizing and thickening properties. Just a few things I want to make with this incredible substance are mayonnaise, lemon meringue pie (of course!) and a Baked Alaska. So fun!
These meringues couldn’t be easier to make. Really, all you need is some good time on your hands. They bake at a low temperature for 90 minutes so you have to plan for it. Sam’s recipe over at It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken has amazing photos and led me through the process one step at a time. I’m here to pass her recipe along to you and inspire you to add a fun little twist like toasted coconut.
Here’s what you need to whip these up:
- liquid from one 19-oz can of unsalted chickpeas (this is about 1 cup of liquid)
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ¾ cup unbleached, granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
Preheat your oven to 200° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, begin to beat the chickpea liquid, vanilla and cream of tartar on high speed. Slowly add in the sugar, continuing to beat and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Continue beating until your mixture achieves stiff peaks, meaning it doesn’t collapse or drip from the whisk. This took my mixer about 6 minutes.
While your mixer is doing its thing, prepare your toasted coconut. Place the shredded coconut onto a small skillet over low-medium heat. Toast the coconut, stirring continuously, until it reaches a consistent golden hue.
Next, use a spoon to place dollops of meringue onto your parchment-lined baking sheets. They should hold their shape and not spread out. If they do, go back to your mixer and keep beating.
Sprinkle your meringues with the toasted coconut and leave some plain too, if you’d like. Place them into the oven for 45 minutes, rotate the trays in the oven and bake for another 45 minutes. It’s hard to tell they’re done just by looking at them so you’ll need to do what Sam suggested and take one out to test. If you just try to grab one, it’ll collapse because of the heat. So you’ll want to cut the parchment paper around one of the meringues, remove it and allow it to cool completely (this takes mere seconds), then taste it. If it’s crispy and light and heavenly then you’re good to go!
These meringues are best served the day of, but can be kept in an air-tight container for a few days depending on your climate. Here in arid California, they’ll last that long but if you have more humidity in you area, their shelf life will be shorter.
Enjoy… perhaps on a checkered tablecloth. ; )