For some it is not Christmas without Christmas Pudding and for others there must be Christmas Cake, turkey or, seafood. It doesn't matter where you are from there are foods and traditions with your loved ones that make it special for celebrations. For me one of the dishes that must be there is pavlova during that Christmas period, in all its glory with layers of meringue, with mountains of freshly whipped cream and fresh fruit. Mine are never perfect but they make a perfect end to a meal on what is often a hot day and when you are so full you could burst!
A couple of years ago we had a problem with many in our family moving to a vegan diet, when as far as I am concerned all of the best foods in life involve butter, cream, eggs and sugar. Adapting mains is not difficult at all but desserts present few more issues because for Christmas you want a little more than fresh fruit.
Enter the Vegan pavlova made with aquafaba, chickpea water or brine. Yes its true and whoever thought to whisk these one day until they are a meringue is pure genius. Aquafaba is basically the viscous water in which chickpeas have been cooked and other legumes can be used also. Has protein similar to egg whites but less of it. I have found this a little temperamental with beating enough to get the sugar to dissolve but serving to my family they did not know it was - chickpea brine until I told them.
In place of the dairy some use sweetened coconut cream but I find it a bit heavy so I replace it with coconut yoghurt as it has some tartness to it which I like with the sugary meringue. That that is all to make a gorgeous dessert with little more than that water you normally drain in the sink from your beans! True story.
Here is my recipe which I have adapted from a few recipes including Delicious which I am going to continue to adapt. I like to fold ground nuts or use different sugars that give different flavours.
- 400ml coconut yoghurt
- 400g can chickpeas
- 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
- 1 tbs cornflour
- Mango, to serve
- Passionfruit, to serve
- Coconut flakes, to serve
1. Place coconut cream in the fridge and chill overnight. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the canning liquid. Place the chickpeas in an airtight container and refrigerate for another use. Chill the canning liquid for 2 hour or until cold.
2. Preheat oven to 150°C and line two baking trays with baking paper. When canning liquid is cold, transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk for 8 minutes or until mixture turns to soft peaks. Add sugar, 1 tbs at a time, whisking constantly for 15 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved.
3. Whisk in the cornflour. Divide the mixture on the lined tray making about 12 meringues. Place in the oven and immediately reduce oven to 100°C. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until outside of meringue is firm and crisp. Turn off oven and leave meringues to dry out in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.
4. When cool place on a serving plate and spoon on coconut yoghurt (sweeten to your taste if you like) over meringues and place on slices of mango, passionfruit and, coconut flakes.