PREP 20 minutes
COOK 1 hour 20 minutes, plus cooling time
MAKES about 6 individual meringues
- cornflour, for dusting
- apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, for cleaning
- liquid from 1 x 400g can chickpeas (aquafaba), refrigerated
- pinch salt
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1¼ cups caster sugar
- 1½ tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- coconut yoghurt
- fresh fruit
- passionfruit pulp
- icing sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 110°C regular bake and line a large oven tray (or two smaller ones) with baking paper. Dust lightly with cornflour, using a small amount in a sieve, to stop the little meringues sticking. Have the racks in the oven set ready for two trays if needed.
Start by preparing the mixing bowl you’ll use (an electric stand mixer works best, but otherwise a metal, glass or ceramic bowl with an handheld electric beater is okay). Make sure it’s clean and dry, then wipe it out with a paper towel and a little vinegar to make sure it’s spick-and-span. Do the same to the whisk attachment or beater heads. If you have time (or the space), pop the bowl and attachment in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes or so to cool down (this will help the meringue fluff up nicely, but it’s not essential).
Carefully drain the chilled chickpea liquid (aquafaba) out of the can and into your mixing bowl along with the salt. Reserve the chickpeas for something else (see pages 54, 70 or 186).
Beat the aquafaba on medium-high speed until it’s foamy, then add the cream of tartar. Keep beating until it’s reached soft-peak stage. This is when the mixture forms peaks that barely hold their shape when you lift up the beater — the peaks will have their tops flopping over.
Now start adding the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating for 15 seconds or so between each addition, until all the sugar is used up. This could take around 10 minutes. It might pay to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula once or twice while you’re adding the sugar.
Once all the sugar is added, continue to beat until it has dissolved — this is important. Squidge some of the mixture between your fingers and you shouldn’t feel any grit. By this time, the mixture should be thick, glossy and voluminous. It should really hold its shape. Sift in the cornflour and beat to just combine.
You can choose to pipe the meringues onto the baking paper or just freestyle it with a spoon. Make perky piles about 10cm in diameter — they will spread and puff up a little when they cook. Once I have a pile, I swirl it with the back of a dessertspoon in a circular motion to get it looking a bit like a meringue.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. When the time is up, turn the oven off without opening the door and leave the little meringues in there until they are completely cool. If you take them out early, they may be tacky and not crispy. As soon as they are out, they need to go into an airtight container so they won’t go soft. They’ll keep there for a couple of days.
Serve with coconut yoghurt, fresh fruit and passionfruit pulp. Dust with icing sugar, if you like.
Make sure you use caster sugar not regular sugar, as the smaller granules will dissolve more quickly.
Cream of tartar helps stabilise the mixture and fluff it up more. It’s worth finding at the supermarket, but if you don’t have it use 1 tsp lemon juice instead.
Instead of coconut yoghurt, you can refrigerate coconut cream overnight and whip the solid cream instead
Extracted from Supergood by Chelsea Winter, published by Random House NZ, RRP $50.00. Text © Chelsea Winter 2020. Photography © Tam West 2020