Meringue is a classic dessert component used in many French and Italian cuisine. It typically involves whipping egg whites to create a fluffy and airy texture.
Potato protein meringue
However, for people with egg allergies or vegans, the classic meringue recipe has to be rewritten to replace the egg with an egg-free alternative. Thanks to the advancement of food technology, we now have plenty of options to replace eggs in baking.
Potato protein is the best among egg replacements for making vegan meringue because of it's functionalities. It's an excellent choice for making vegan macarons and sponge cakes.
Aquafaba from chickpeas
What is the first vegan meringue made of?
The discovery of aquafaba for vegan meringue is often attributed to a French chef named Joël Roessel. In 2014, Roessel was experimenting with creating a vegan alternative to the meringue and began exploring the properties of chickpea liquid.
He noticed that the liquid from canned chickpeas had a consistency similar to egg whites and decided to try it. He whipped the chickpea liquid and was amazed it formed stiff peaks like traditional meringue made with egg whites.
Excited by this discovery, Roessel shared his findings on a French vegan cooking forum. The news quickly spread, and people began experimenting with aquafaba as a white egg replacement. It gained popularity within the vegan and vegetarian communities as a versatile ingredient that could be used in various recipes, including meringues, mousses, and even mayonnaise.
Since then, aquafaba has become a well-known and widely used ingredient in vegan cooking and baking. Its discovery has opened up new possibilities for creating egg-free and dairy-free desserts, and it continues to be a game-changer for those seeking plant-based alternatives in their culinary creations.
Simple Aquafaba meringue recipe:
Making an aquafaba meringue is easy. In a mixing bowl, pour the aquafaba and add a small amount of lemon juice tablespoons at a time. Instead of lemon juice, cream of tartar is the other option. The acid helps stabilize the chickpea liquid and improves its ability to form stiff peaks.
Whip the aquafaba mixture on high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat the meringue mixture until stiff peaks form. This may take about 10-15 minutes.
The resulting meringue should be glossy and have a texture similar to traditional meringue made with egg whites. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to offset the saltiness and smell of chickpea aquafaba.
Aquafaba macaron collapsed during baking
The aquafaba problem
While aquafaba meringue is an excellent vegan alternative to traditional meringue, there are a few challenges and issues that can arise when using it in baking:
Unstable - aquafaba meringue is generally less stable than meringue made with egg whites. Since the chickpea protein does not solidify like an egg, it cannot withstand baking temperatures of more than 115°C. As a result, the meringue will collapse or deflate. That is why aquafaba meringue doesn't work in sponge cakes.
Inconsistent - because aquafaba juice is not standardized, the quality of the meringue it produces is inconsistent. That is why sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. It's not ideal for delicate recipes like vegan macarons, lemon meringue pies, and meringue-based sponge cakes.
Potato protein powder
Potato protein as alternative to aquafaba
Potato protein is a starch extracted from potato starch with 80% protein content. Potato protein is an off-white colored powder typically dissolved in water before application. It is known for its foaming properties, making it suitable for creating a stable meringue-like consistency.
To use potato protein in vegan meringue, you would typically mix the potato protein powder with water to create a liquid mixture that has a similar texture to egg white but darker in color.
Once the potato protein mixture is prepared, you can add sugar and whip it on high speed using a mixer until it thickens and forms stiff peaks, just like traditional meringue.
The specific ratio of potato protein powder to water will depend on your brand and powder type. So, referring to a recipe that provides accurate measurements is advisable.
Potato protein is the best alternative to aquafaba, not just in vegan meringue but also for sponge cake recipes.
Two common meringue methods
Italian Meringue technique - is made by gradually pouring the hot sugar syrup into the potato protein mixture. The sugar syrup is cooked to 240-260°F (116-118°C) before being incorporated into a partially whipped potato protein mixture, resulting in a stable and smooth meringue. The sugar syrup is poured into a slow stream, beating until stiff peaks form. The meringue is then ready for various desserts, from pie toppings to torching for a caramelized finish.
French Meringue Technique - the sugar is added gradually to the potato protein mix. At the same time, the potato protein whips continuously until the meringue is shiny and stiff. It's the easiest technique for making meringue.
Ingredients You'll Need
8 g (1 1/2 tsp) Potato Protein
100 g (50 ml) Water, cold
0.30 g Xanthan Gum
120 g (2/3 Cup) Sugar
70 g (100 ml) Water, cold
8 g (1 1/2 tsp) Potato Protein
150 g (150 ml) Water, cold
0.3 g Xanthan Gum
120 g (2/3 Cup) Sugar
Italian Meringue Technique
Mix the potato protein powder, the first part of the water (50 ml), and the xanthan gum with a hand blender or a whisk. Please make sure they are homogenous.
In hand or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, partially whip the potato protein mix until soft peaks form. Turn the speed low and continue running the mixer while waiting for the hot sugar.
In a small saucepan, mix sugar and the second art of water. Boil at high heat until the sugar reaches 240-260°F (116-120°C). Remove from heat.
Adjust the mixer speed to medium, and slowly pour the hot sugar into a steady stream.
Adjust the speed to high and continue whipping for another 5 minutes until the meringue is shiny and at room temperature.
Transfer the meringue to a piping bag, then use it immediately.
French Meringue Technique
Mix all ingredients except sugar in a stand mixer bowl. Set aside 5 minutes to homogenize or mix with a hand blender to speed up the process.
Whip the mixture until the soft peak. On medium speed, slowly add the sugar in 5 parts.
Once the sugar is all in, adjust the speed to high. Continue whipping for 8 to 10 minutes until shiny and stiff. Use immediately.
If you don't have a stand mixer, you can do the same procedure with a hand mixer.
If you want to bake the meringue, prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe meringue into small balls. Bake at 194°F (90°C) for 60 to 90 minutes. Let the mini meringue cool down and store them in an airtight container.
Italian Meringue whipping with hot sugar syrup
Potato protein meringue may have slightly different characteristics than aquafaba or vegetable protein powder meringue. It may have a smoother texture and a slightly different taste due to the unique properties of potato protein. Choose a potato protein brand that has a neutral taste so it won't affect the taste of the final product.
As with any alternative meringue recipe, following a reliable recipe designed for potato protein meringue is always helpful to ensure the best results. Experimentation and adjustments may still be necessary based on your potato protein powder's specific brand and characteristics.
Vegan Italian meringue on lemon tart
Potato protein vegan meringue can be used in various recipes, such as pavlova, plant-based macarons, sponge cakes, mousses, and toppings for lemon tarts. And the best part? They're just as delicious and versatile as traditional meringues but without the use of animal products.
Using potato whip to create vegan versions of classic French and Italian meringue techniques is a game changer for those with egg allergies or plant-based eaters. You can make light, fluffy, and delicious meringues with simple ingredients added to potato powder.
So try it and showcase your fantastic dessert using the vegan meringue in the comments below.
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