Eggless, at last

A recipe by Simone Salvini for Meringue wafers made with grass peas, grass pea pâté and coconut butter

26-07-2015

Vegan chef Simone Salvini (here together with Luca Cimini who works with him in the kitchen of the new Lord Bio in Macerata) tells us how after a careful research he has found the right way to make meringues... without eggs. Thanks to legumes’ cooking water

For years, Pietro Leemann and I had been thinking of making healthy meringues, tasty but without egg whites. We even prepared some special, totally vegetal dough, made with ingredients that are not always healthy but could create crispy and very light meringues. We mostly used starch, chemical yeast and other unhealthy ingredients.

Yet making vegetal meringues can be simple and healthy; you just need to use legumes’ cooking water. Until today, this liquid was only used to create soups or to aromatise vegetal stocks. From now on, legumes’ cooking water can be used to make sweet and savoury meringues. In the next few days I’d like to make them with syrup or rice malt instead of brown sugar.

Vegetal meringues can be made with the cooking water of many types of legumes: cannellini beans, chickpeas, beans, etc. They can also by salted, and thus suitable for vegetal savoury recipes or first courses.

Grass peas wafer meringues with green pea pâté and coconut butter

INGREDIENTS
For the meringue
100 g grass peas cooking water without salt *
200 g light cane sugar
4 g lemon juice

For the sweet grass pea pâté
200 g grass peas cooked without salt
50 g coconut butter**
30 g light cane sugar
lemon zest
pinch of powdered cardamom

Meringue wafers made with grass pea, with grass pea pâté and coconut butter

Meringue wafers made with grass pea, with grass pea pâté and coconut butter

METHOD
1) Put the cooking water from the grass peas in a professional kneading machine metal bowl. Whisk gradually until you reach the highest speed; when the water has become foamy, as in the classic case of whisked egg whites, slowly add the previously powdered sugar. Continue to blend so as to obtain a stable and soft foam. It will take around ten minutes. Fill a pastry bag and create some wafers you’ll place on a silpat. Cook in the classic way until crispy. I cooked them at 80°C for 2 hours. Keep to a side.

2) Strain the grass pea so as to obtain a smooth purée. Season with coconut butter, cane sugar, lemon zest and powdered cardamom.

3) Place a large quenelle of sweet grass pea pâté on the bottom of a some small dish, cover it with the meringues made with the same legume and turned into irregular wafers.

* to cook the grass peas: soak 200 g of dry grass peas overnight, covering them with lots of water. Leave them to soak for 24 hours in the fridge. Drain them and cook them in twice as much water using a pot with a thick base for about 1 hour. We aromatised the water with two bay leaves and 4 cloves.

** for the coconut butter: put 500 g of coconut milk in a transparent glass and put it in the freezer. After a few hours the fat part will separate from the liquid part and since it is lighter it will rise. Using a spoon, remove the fat and solid part and use it for this recipe.