Felt like I’m taking the easy way out in making the mixed berry vegan meringues. Open a can of chickpeas while saving the liquid. The alternative is to crack four eggs and separate out the whites. In reality, the vegan meringues version is incredibly easy to do. Skip the dairy. You can’t quite tell that these meringues are made with aquafaba, the usually discarded liquid from a can of chickpeas. (The sweetness of sugar dominates.) Aside from the vegan part, the economic, the taste and the green perspectives, these meringues are very compelling. For these reasons and the struck by cupid challenge at IHCC, I’m going for the vegan route here.
“Beans, beans, the magical fruit
And useful, to boot!
Save that canned water,
And whip it to foam
It’s an egg-white replacement
Made right at home!”
The mixed berry vegan meringues were adapted from Ina Garten’s mixed berry pavlova recipe. Forgoing eggs, I also skipped the whipped cream in the recipe, making this a much healthier dessert. Valentine’s Day is coming, I’m certainly lightening the dessert for my loved ones. Other than the sugar, there are not too many reasons to skip the dessert. (My dentist recommends taking a mouthful of water afterwards to raise the pH, just as you would after eating ice cream.) Go for it!
I made individual meringue cookies in the shape of hearts. Making a nine-inch round base of the pavlova requires roughly spreading out the meringue mixture. To shape the cookies freehand into hearts, I used a big piping bag and a tip. That may require some patience if you haven’t done it before, By and large, I’ve found piping the outline of hearts a fun and relaxing part of the exercise.
The meringues take a long and slow bake, and rest, in the oven. Meanwhile, I prepared the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and the sauce, following Ina’s recipe for a triple raspberry sauce. It’s a triple when you add fresh berries, raspberry jam and a liqueur. I don’t have framboise on hand; I used Cointreau in its place.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Mixed Berry PavlovaPrint Recipe
- 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe follows
- 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1/2 pint fresh blueberries
- 1/2 pint fresh raspberries
- Triple Raspberry Sauce, recipe follows
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 half-pint fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12-ounce jar)
- 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur
To Make the Pavlova:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. (This way you won't get a pencil mark on the meringue.)
Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
To Assemble the Berry Pavlova:
Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Combine the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries lightly. Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.
To Make the Sweetened Whipped Cream: (Yield: 1 cup)
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don't overbeat!
To Make the Triple Raspberry Sauce: (Yield: 2 cups)
Place the raspberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.
Adapted from Food Network, recipe courtesy of Ina Garten