I’m finally back and baking. Despite the fact that it has been over 40 celsius the past couple of days with the humidity (that’s about 104 fahrenheit for the Americans) I finally had a day to do nothing and so I committed to making this pie. I am so, so happy that I did. I am in absolute awe of the power of chickpea brine! I’m not going to lie to you guys, I really did not believe that this would work. I thought it was too good to be true! How could it be possible that the liquid from a can of chickpeas could make a fluffy, sticky, sweet merengue? I am here to tell you it is 100% real and 100% delicious.
Above is an action shot of my standmixer going to town on some chickpea merengue. I did a lot of research before attempting it myself. The two blogs that I found the most helpful on the subject were It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken and The Pancake Princess. They had really good tips on what you need to do to create the fluffy meringue of your dreams. First? You need to buy chickpeas with no added salt. Check those labels! Most brands add salt I ended up buying blue label at Loblaws because it was the only ones I could find without salt added. Sam at It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken explains that the brine with added salt retains a bit of the chickpea flavour. Second most important thing? You need to reduce the brine. Reducing it just means you need to bring it a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 15min. This will intensify it. Third? You need to be patient and put it in the fridge to cool down before use. If you’re making it to top a lemon meringue pie then it’s no hardship, you let it cool while you assemble your pie.
We know how to make pie of course. I used the lemon curd filling from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts and a basic pie crust recipe. The real thing we’re focusing on is the magical meringue here. So what you’re going to do is take your chickpea brine which is nice and chilled from the fridge and put it in the bowl of your stand mixer. You’re going to add a 1/2 tsp of vanilla and a 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar and you are going to put that stand mixer on high and watch it go. I kept waiting for it to start forming peaks before adding the sugar, it won’t form peaks until you add the sugar. However letting it whip for a while until it is nice and foamy is a good idea. Once it is super foamy start to add your 1/2 cup of sugar a little bit at a time. Very slowly. You will see the creaminess starting and the peaks starting! Once you have emptied that half cup of sugar into your meringue be patient lower the speed a little bit and let it keep on whipping. You need to keep whipping until you achieve stiff peaks. You cannot get impatient with this, not if you want a proper merengue. If you look at the picture above you will see that when I take the beater away the peak stands up straight. That’s what I mean by stiff peaks. Periodically stop the stand mixer, lower the bowl and pull out the beater, if the peak flops over it is still too soft.
To get that lovely delightful golden cast I used the broiler as suggested by the Pancake Princess. I baked my crust, then baked the pie with the lemon curd in it, then I pre-heated the broiler to 575 I carefully placed the pie inside and left the door open so that I could see it. I rotated the pie around every few seconds. It was probably in there for not even a full minute. It will burn SO FAST. You really cannot let your mind or eye wander for even a second.
Then when all of that is done you need to let it chill in the fridge for about three hours before you eat it. This pie is not for busy days. This pie is for slow living summer days, the kind of days where you just want to sit in the shade and sip on iced tea and eat cold pie. The kind of day where you have all the time in the world to obsess over the perfect golden cast on your meringue.
Once it’s chilled you can sit back and relax and feel like you’ve accomplished something that day. You made a completely vegan lemon meringue pie! You took something as innocuous as bean water and made it into something decadent and delicious! You are a magician! I’ve got lots of thoughts on what else I can do with this magical creation so stay tuned!
Aquafaba (bean water) Meringue
- 1 15oz can of chickpea brine
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup and 1 tbl shortening
- 1 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2-3 tbl cold water
Lemon Curd Filling
- 1 cup soy milk
- 6 tbl cornstarch
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 tbl lemon zest
Bring the chickpea brine to a boil and then lower the heat to medium and allow to simmer for 15min. Allow to cool and then place in the fridge to chill.
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a pie plate.
In a bowl cut the shortening into the flour until it is in pea size balls, add the salt and cold water and mix with a fork. On a well floured surface roll out the dough, place the crust in the prepared pie plate and trim any excess. Bake the crust for 10min.
While the crust is baking combine 1/2 the soy milk with the cornstarch and flour in a bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan bring the other 1/2 of the soy milk to a boil and add the sugar and lemon juice. When the sugar has dissolved slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture. Whisk continuously (you really can’t stop whisking unless you want a lumpy curd) until a thick pudding like consistency is created. This will take awhile. Stir in the lemon zest.
Pour the curd into the baked crust and bake for an additional 15min.
While the pie is baking take your chilled chickpea brine from the fridge and pour into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the vanilla and cream of tartar beat until extremely foamy. Slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks are achieved.
Preheat the broiler to 575 and spoon the meringue onto the prepared pie. Place the pie in the broiler with the door open, using oven mitts rotate the pie every few seconds until the desired golden crispiness is achieved. Be VERY careful or it will burn!
Chill in the fridge for four hours to overnight.