A lot of people enjoyed my chickpea tuna salad from yesterday (link here) and I’m hoping you will like this post just as much 🙂 So today, I moved on to a dessert using chickpeas. Well, it sort of uses chickpeas – I used aquafaba, which is a chickpea by-product. Aquafaba (“bean water”) is the thick, starchy water in which you cook the beans. I think you can use any beans or legumes to make aquafaba but I believe chickpeas is most common, possibly because of its light colour. It also has a similar consistency and colour to egg whites, which makes it a good replacement in some recipes. I got my aquafaba from the can of chickpeas I used for my tuna yesterday, so that was good double duty.
I’ve actually never used the liquid from a can of chickpeas, I always just drain it right away. I was excited to use it though, especially in a dessert. I made mini lemon meringue pies. I cheated because I bought frozen mini pie shells and used a box of lemon pie filling mix. I did follow a recipe for vegan meringue though, which was part of a pie recipe but I only made the meringue portion (link here). I wanted to limit the amount of places that this recipe could go wrong and see if the aquafaba would turn out like real egg meringue. That was my mission. Pretty much, I was making meringue and if it didn’t work out, I would still have nice lemon tarts haha.
I will point out that my pie filling was not vegan but the crust and meringue were. There are tons of recipes online for vegan fillings, but like I mentioned before, I was really just testing the vegan meringue for this post. I’ve made meringue with egg whites many times before, mostly to make these forgotten cookies (link here). I wonder if I could make those with aquafaba. Hmm that’s a challenge for another day though.
I won’t get into too much detail about the pie shells and filling since I didn’t do too much work for them. I just baked my shells on their own and made my filling while those were in the oven. Once my shells were golden and my filling was thick, I let both of those cool completely.
While those were cooling, I worked on the meringue. All it needs is aquafaba and sugar. Some vegan meringue recipes call for white vinegar or cream of tartar but I didn’t use either. Maybe my meringue would have been stiffer with one of those but I was still happy with the results. So it took about 10 minutes on medium-high speed to get the aquafaba to almost stiff peaks, at which point I slowly added in the sugar. (Note: recipe called for caster sugar but I used granulated because I saw recipes that used both). My meringue got super stiff and glossy and not grainy at all.
Now that all my components were ready, I could assemble my tarts. I spooned some lemon curd into my shells then topped them with a big spoon of meringue. I popped them in the oven to broil for 2 minutes and they got nicely browned. I had read comments that people’s meringue had “melted” off, so I was worried mine would do the same, but I guess my meringue was stiff enough so that didn’t happen. I was actually really pleased with how they turned out. Then I let them sit for about an hour before digging in so that the meringue could stabilize and firm up.
If you’ve made it this far, I just want to first say thank you for reading this much 🙂 I know this post was kind of a long one. But now it’s time for the taste test. Like I said, these mini pies looked amazing. They really looked like a classic lemon meringue pie. And the taste did not disappoint either. I knew the shell and lemon filling would be good but the meringue was surprisingly good. It tasted exactly like an egg meringue. This was a really good dessert and a great way to end chickpea week!