Individual summer fruit pavlovas

We had friends over today for a “summer” barbeque (cardigans and jeans were worn, it was not a summer BBQ like some people might picture!). So I decided to add to the summery feeling with some individual summer fruit pavlovas.

These were easy but fancy looking little desserts that went down very well with everyone (we all had more than one!). Unfortunately they had to be assembled right before serving though as the coconut cream did start to dissolve the meringues, so if you decide to make these then make sure to leave yourself a few minutes for assembling!

Ingredients

For the meringues

  • liquid from one can of chickpeas/beans* (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/8 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

*this time I used a tin of 3 bean salad. Interestingly the aquafaba from this tin was much thicker than from chickpeas or butter beans, and it also took much longer to whip up. But it still worked and gave a lovely, thick mixture.

For the coconut cream

  • 1 tin full fat coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsps icing sugar

To finish

  • Stawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Brambles

(or any combination you like!)

To make the meringues: Preheat the oven to 100 degress Celsius. Add the aquafaba and vinegar to a non-plastic bowl and whip until you have stiff peaks. Slowly add the sugar a spoonful at a time, waiting until the previous spoonful is completely combined before adding any more. When all of the sugar is incorporated and there are glossy, stiff peaks, add the vanilla extract and mix it in.

Line a baking tray with parchment and pipe the mixture into meringue nests, or kisses for bitesized pavlovas. Place in the centre of your oven and bake for 90 minutes. Once baked turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside to cool for a couple of hours until they are completely cold.

To make the whipped cream: Chill the coconut milk in the fridge overnight, this will cause the contents of the tin to separate into the solid cream, which will float on the top, and the water underneath. Carefully spoon out the solid cream into a bowl, trying not to pick up any of the water as this will affect the consistency of your whipped cream. Add the icing sugar, then using an electric mixer whip your cream to the desired texture making sure you don’t leave any lumps.

To make up: Either spoon or pipe about a tablespoonful of whipped cream into the centre of the meringue nest, or about a teaspoon on top of the meringue kisses. Decorate with the fresh fruit and serve to your suitable impressed guests 🙂

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I have some ideas about different flavour combinations for these pavlovas, so watch this space…

Lemon meringue pie! Well, sort of…

Did you guess this is what was coming? I’m sure you did, it was a pretty obvious next step after meringue and then lemon curd!

I’ll admit right now that this post is a bit of a tease as I’m not including a recipe or method just now, for reasons that will become clear. However I’ll be back with one soon!

It all started out so well: I had little brother asleep on my back in the wrap, big brother helping out as only a toddler can (ie pulling things out of drawers and cupboards and intermittently demanding toast…). The pastry was made, chilled and blind baked with no problems.

I spooned in the lemon curd, licked the spoon, life was good.

Then I thought I’d experiment and I think that was the problem. I tried an Italian version of the meringue recipe and added hot sugar syrup to the whipped chick pea water, but I think all that happened was it made the meringue too wet and gooey. But I topped the pie and popped it in the oven, keeping my fingers crossed. It certainly looked the part!

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However…

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You might notice the meringue is really gooey and the lemon curd ran once the pie was cut (which was quite possibly because the pie was still warm as we were too impatient to wait for it to totally cool). But it was still delicious! Those plates are testament to that fact 😉

So I shall have another go and when I’m happy with my method I’ll share it with you.

Anyone else got a delicious baking experiment/mishap they want to share to make me feel better?!

Vegan (egg-free) meringue

Have you heard about the vegan meringue sensation currently doing the rounds on the internet? They are made from something you would normally throw away. Or, more accurately, drain away…

Any ideas? No? It’s the water from a can of chick peas! The reason this works is the proteins from the chick peas work in the same way as the protein in egg white. I’ll admit I was a little skeptical at first, but also curious enough to give it a go.

Ingredients

Liquid from one can of chick peas (this gave me just under 200ml)
1 cup/250ml volume of sugar (I used 1/3 cup stevia and 2/3 granulated sugar)
1/8 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius. I used my stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment. Start by putting the chick pea water and vinegar into the bowl and whisking on high speed until you have stiff white peaks. I’ve read that you can’t really over-whisk and that some people have needed to whisk for a long time to get fluffy peaks, so hang in there and don’t stop too soon!

Once you’ve got your stiff peaks then add the sugar, one spoonful at a time whilst still whisking on high speed. Continue mixing until all the sugar has dissolved and the texture in smooth and fluffy, just like a traditional meringue.

Finally add the vanilla extract and whisk until all mixed in.

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Form into whatever shapes you wish, I think it’s probably even strong enough to pipe. I decided to do one large and several individual size.

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Place in the centre of your oven for about an hour and a half*. Once the time is up, don’t open the door, instead leave the meringues in the oven until they and the oven have completely cooled, at least 3 hours but longer if you can.

Now you’ll have some delicious vegan meringues to use for whatever fancy puds you desire! I’m thinking pavlova, maybe some Eton mess, who knows! I’m sure there will be recipes using this meringue-y goodness coming your way soon though 🙂

*I think mine actually needed to cook for longer as they were a bit gooey in the centre and the top broke off the bottom when I tried to remove them from the baking paper.

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However the taste and texture of the top parts was excellent and I will definitely be trying this again. I think for a first attempt these are not too bad, and perfect for just shoving in my face an Eton mess type dessert 😉 Happy baking!