What Is Aquafaba and Would You Try It?

Scarsdale baker Diane Forley is using this vegan-friendly ingredient as a base for a new meringue-centered confection e-business.

Diane Forley, owner of wholesale plant-based specialty bakery Flourish Baking Company in Scarsdale since 2009 wanted a challenge. “I’ve been cooking for so long, I wanted to do something that would test myself,” says Forley, whose current client workload includes creating Bareburger’s desserts; nut-free savory and sweet programs for area private schools, and corporate meals for Compass Group in Armonk. “Plus people always want to see something new.”

Considering the copious amount of dried, organic chickpeas Forley uses at Flourish, she decided to use a byproduct of preparing those chickpeas — the broth the legumes are simmered in — as the basis of her new confectionary e-business, meringueshop.

Maple meringue trio 

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The chickpea broth, also known as aquafaba, is a flavorless binder especially popular among vegans as an egg white replacement. “I decided that I could rethink a classic egg based-confection using the aquafaba to make it vegan-friendly,” says Forley. “Meringue is a dessert that comes from a classic tradition, lends itself to many flavor combos, and the aesthetics are fantastic.”

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Launched April 2017, meringueshop offers crispy vegan meringues made from just two ingredients: aquafaba plus organic maple sugar from Bascom Maple Farms in New Hampshire. Flavors include chocolate (using Raaka Chocolate in Brooklyn), vanilla, maple, raspberry rose, blueberry lavender, and orange blossom. 

“There are other vegan binders made from flaxseed, flax meal, and psyllium, but unlike aquafaba, the texture is slippery,” says Forley. She started on her recipe in the summer of 2016. “Getting the balance of sugar right as well as the get peaks perfect took a while.”

Cakes decorated with meringues 

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Forley also has plans to develop line of vegan DYI ingredients for vegan sweets-makers.

Besides being pretty, elegant, and good-tasting, the meringues are gluten free, nut free, dairy free, and have less sugar than if made with egg whites: 4 calories per.

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