I have a confession. A kitchen nightmare confession. Over the past year, vegan blogs have been exploding with “aquafaba” recipes. This is a nickname given to “bean” water that comes from a can of chick peas, cannelini, or great northern beans that usually goes down the drain. It can easily replace an egg in many vegan culinary dishes. By far, the greatest aquafaba achievement has been the discovery that it can be used to make vegan meringue. How cool is that?
I decided that I wanted to see what all the internet fuss was about and start out with something “easy.” I chose vegan meringue cookies. Boy was I wrong.
I spent a solid hour diligently following a basic recipe and mixing the sugar, xantham gum, and vanilla with aquafaba to create my meringue. Everything seemed like it was going well. The consistency was good. Stiff peaks were forming. Then it was time to bake. I put my meringue cookies in the oven at 200 degrees and watched them like a hawk. All of a sudden, they turned very dark brown and needed to come out. The cookies hadn’t set properly and deflated. The consistency was that of a highly sticky taffy. I was devastated. I pride myself on easily picking up on new kitchen techniques and my baking prowess. This was an epic failure.
Well, I decided that I wasn’t going to let aquafaba or vegan meringue defeat me. So I tried my hand at a vegan lemon meringue pie. Thankfully, this was a much better experience! I scoured the internet trying to find the best vegan lemon meringue pie recipe, and I settled on one from The Gentle Chef.
The ingredient list was pretty simple, and the directions clear, though I somewhat cheated by using a pre-made pie crust. You have to pick your battles, right? Anyway, the hardest part was using a cheap hand mixer to whip up the meringue. Unfortunately, I still don’t have my dream Kitchenaid Mixer. Maybe one day!
Regardless, I stuck to the recipe, and seven hours after I started, I had a vegan lemon meringue pie! My meringue actually had a meringue-like consistency, though a little sticky. The custard had just enough lemon flavor. All in all, I would say while it didn’t come out perfect, it’s a darn good vegan lemon meringue pie!
The lesson here everyone – never give in to defeat. Try, try, and try again. Eventually you’ll find a recipe that works for you!