Of all the amazing vegan desserts out there, this chickpea ‘aquafaba’ meringue has got to be one of the most impressive — partially due to its main ingredient. You might not believe it until you make it yourself, but the liquid found in a can of chickpeas is the secret. When whipped on high for a substantial amount of time, it turns into a meringue-like substance that bakes into a perfect, light and crunchy dessert.
At the recent Saje Wellness X Farmacie long table dinner, Chef Marika Richoz of The Birds Nest (underground dining in Vancouver) created a show-stopping spin on this vegan meringue delicacy. Topped with coconut whipped cream, melted ZIMT Chocolate and fresh berries, her dish was a massive crowd-pleaser. Guests raved and asked for the recipe. I did, too! And Marika was kind enough to share. Thank you, Marika!! This truly is ‘the perfect dessert, in my opinion, and though some of the ingredients seem foreign, it really is easy to make once you get going. Scroll down for the recipe.
3/4 c. canned chickpea liquid
1 c. organic cane sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
4 c. berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1 14oz can chilled, full-fat coconut milk (must be chilled in fridge for min. 24 hours)
1/4 c. coconut sugar
1 tbsp. maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 c. coconut oil (melted)
1/4 c. cacao powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1/3 c. toasted chopped hazelnuts or toasted coconut or chopped dark chocolate (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- In a mixmaster, whip chickpea liquid and salt on high speed until a light foam consistency forms (about 7 minutes — if you overmix, the batch could flop). Now, gradually add in cane sugar and cornstarch. Once fully incorporated and foamy again, add vanilla.
- Use a spatula to spread out meringue onto a large, parchment-lined baking sheet — make sure entire pan is covered in meringue.
- Place in oven and cook for 15 min. Next, lower temperature to 275F and cook for an additional 45-60 min. You’ll know it’s ready when it becomes light tan in colour. Place on counter and let cool.
- Now, make your whip: open the can of coconut milk. The cream should have risen to the top — it’ll be a nice firm consistency. Carefully take a spoon and remove the cream (you don’t want any of the liquid here) and place in a mixing bowl.
- Using a whisk (preferably electric), beat the cream with the coconut sugar, maple syrup and salt until smooth. Place in refrigerator to chill.
- Time for the chocolate: melt your coconut oil in a small saucepan on low heat. Whisk in cacao, salt and maple syrup. Remove from heat. Remember to taste as you cook! Adjust sweetness or saltiness as necessary.
- Once meringue has cooled, carefully break apart into pieces the size of a oreo cookie. You may want to cook a few minutes longer if any of the sections are too gummy. I often do this for an additional 10-15 min at 325F. It makes it crunchy and more desirable.
- To serve: place all meringue pieces on a large serving tray. Take the coconut cream out of the fridge and spoon it onto the pieces (approximately 1 tsp. at a time so each third or fourth piece has cream on it). Arrange berries on top. If you’re using any of the optional garnishes (coconut, nuts or chocolate) sprinkle them on top now, too.
- Lastly, carefully drizzle the chocolate sauce over the mixture — you may not use it all, you just want a light covering. Enjoy!
Photo: Katie Huisman