Vegan Meringues With Poached Rhubarb & Vegan Lemon Curd

By Carol Dudar, recipes & food styling

Photos By Stacey BrandFord

Jane Hardin/ Objekts Prop Rental 

Fabrics provided courtesy of Primavera 

 

These vegan meringues are very similar to meringues made from egg whites. Unfortunately, white granulated sugar is the only sweetener that works for making these. Meringues are a treat and should be eaten in moderation.

The cream of tartar is used to help create the stiffness in the mixture to make the meringues set.

Save the rest of the aquafaba to make a herbed mayonnaise or for an egg substitute.

If you feel like only trying to make the meringues, or just want to make the poached rhubarb to have with your oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast, or on it’s own that is ok too.

Meringues

  • ½ cup (125 ml) aquafaba (liquid from low sodium canned chick peas)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) white granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ tsp (7 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure orange extract
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) kosher salt

A few pointers before starting.

Making meringue isn’t complicated at all but it is a bit finicky and particular. It is an exercise in patience as it is a very slow process that can’t be rushed.

Also meringues prefer to be baked in dry weather. Humid or raining moist weather really negatively affects the baking of them.

It is very important to have all of the equipment clean and dry, including spoons. Oil or grease will prevent the meringue from reaching a firm peak. It won’t do well in a plastic bowl or with a plastic spatula either; it will never get stiff and be able to hold it’s shape. Knowing these tips will help you achieve success and less frustration when making them.

Meringues can be flavoured using a variety of flavourings (see list below) but anything that has a fat or an oil like citrus peel will, again, prevent the meringue from maintaining it’s shape and won’t be a firm meringue.

Meringues have to be whisked, cannot be made in a blender or food processor.

Use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a handheld mixer with a whisk attachment with either a glass or metal bowl.

Directions

Make sure the oven racks are in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 200 or 225 degrees. Line two baking pans with fresh parchment paper and set aside.

Measure out the sugar, add the vanilla and orange extract and miix well until well blended.

Add the aquafaba to the mixing bowl you are going to make the meringues in.

Turn the mixer to medium high and beat for 1-2 min or until the aquafaba is quite foamy and almost doubled in size.

Keep mixing, and add the cream of tartar and salt. Beat until the meringues are soft peaks–very soft and won’t stay just on the beaters but droopy mounds.

Turn the mixer to high speed, and very slowly add the sugar to the meringue.

Add one tablespoon of sugar at at time, wait 30 secs or so, and then add another, meanwhile continuing to have the mixer on high speed.

The sugar has to slowly dissolve into the meringue, and will change the consistency from soft and thin in texture to voluminous, thick and glossy.

When it reaches a thick and glossy texture, stop the mixer, use a metal or wooden

spoon to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and to check to see if the sugar has dissolved. Test this by rubbing a little meringue (½ tsp/2 ml) between your index finger and thumb. If you feel any grit, it means that the sugar hasn’t quite dissolved.

You can’t over mix the aquafaba meringue so continue to keep beating for a few more minutes, then test again.

Once ready, it should be very thick, glossy and be able to hold a stiff peak.

Spoon the meringues onto the prepared parchment lined baking sheets.

For the nests, make a dollop about ⅓ cup (75 ml) making a little indentation in the centre.

Space the meringues at least 2” (5 cm) apart to allow them to puff up while baking.

Once all of the meringue is made into the nests, place both trays in the oven and bake for two hours. Do not open the oven during the baking time, as they will collapse.

Turn off the oven, and let sit for at least another hour to completely dry out.

When the meringue is dry to the touch, and peels off easily from the parchment paper, they are ready.

Transfer meringues to a parchment lined large airtight container to keep dry and

fresh.

Note

Meringues can be piped as well as made free form.

They can also be made much smaller as bite size cookies.

Try also using food colouring to make different coloured meringues.

Or melt chocolate and sandwich the chocolate between two bite size meringues.

Crumble the meringues on top of fresh fruit or pudding for a trifle dessert.

The meringue can also be baked as one large meringue for a Pavlova dessert.

Flavours

Cinnamon can be folded in for a cinnamon meringue (2 tsp/10 ml)

Peppermint, chocolate or almond extract (alcohol based not oil based) can be added for a different flavour ( ½ tsp (2 ml))

Poached Rhubarb

  • 1 ½ cup (375 ml) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
  • 4 cups (1 kg) trimmed rhubarb, cut into ¾” x ½” x 2 ½” (2 cm x 1 cm x 6 cm) pieces
  • 1 vanilla bean, split open, scrap out the vanilla paste with a spoon, add both to recipe
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp (30 ml) orange zest
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) kosher salt

Directions

Bring water, sugar and vanilla bean and paste to a large pot.

Turn down to a simmer, add the orange, lemon juices, orange zest and salt; simmer for 15 min.

Meanwhile prep the rhubarb.

Add the rhubarb to the pot and gently simmer for 4-5 min or until it is bright pink, and tender. Try not to overcook as it will become stringy/mushy.

Using a slotted spoon, strain the rhubarb out of the pot and transfer to a bowl and chill immediately. (Another technique is to place the bowl with rhubarb over a bowl of ice to bring down the temperature of the rhubarb quickly to stop it from cooking.)

Transfer rhubarb to an airtight container and refrigerate.

Move the poaching liquid to an airtight container and refrigerate. Once both rhubarb and poaching liquid are cooled, add together in one of the containers and keep refrigerated.

Note

Keep the orange zest and vanilla bean in the mixture to allow the flavours to continue to blend.

The rhubarb syrup can be added to cocktails or added to sparkling water for a Spring

drink.

Vegan Lemon Curd

(makes approx. 2 cups/500 ml)

Make at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, before serving

  • 400 ml (14 oz) coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (125 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) pure orange extract (*optional)
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) organic, extra virgin neutralized flavour coconut oil, chilled to a solid form
  • ¼-½ tsp (1-2 ml) ground turmeric
  • ¼” tsp (1 ml) kosher salt

Directions

Whisk the coconut cream, cornstarch, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, orange extract together in a medium pot.

Turn the heat to medium high under the pot, and keep whisking the mixture.

When the lemon curd starts to boil, turn down to low to simmer and continue to cook until the mixture starts to thicken.

Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, and when the mixture seems thick, check the thickness by running a finger through the curd on the back of the spoon. If there is a clean stripe where your finger was, the mixture is properly thickened. If it isn’t a clean stripe, but liquidy still, continue to cook until thicken.

Whisk in the coconut oil, and salt. Add the ¼” tsp of the turmeric and check the colour.

If the colour isn’t “lemony” looking enough, add another ¼” tsp.

Once the flavour seems balanced, transfer the curd to a container. Cover with

plastic wrap directly on the surface of the lemon curd, and transfer the fridge to chill

completely.

Serve when completely chilled.