Welcome to Our Eat the Rainbow Series!
One of the things I love most about vegan food is the variety of colour. Fruit and veggies come in such a beautiful rainbow selection of colours that I thought I would pay homage to this in a seven part recipe series. Each week I shall work through the colours of the rainbow with a new recipe inspired by that colour.
Blue: Mini Blueberry Pavlovas
Whilst I was spoiled for choice for red, orange, yellow and green foods – blue foods are a little less abundant. Thankfully I absolutely love blueberries and wanted to combine them into a delicious sweet treat.
I used the incredible aquafaba to try to veganise two well-loved desserts. One recipe was a roaring success (pavlova) and the other a complete flop (souffle). In the interests of learning, I have decided to share both with you.
(For those of you who have not come across aquafaba yet – it is an incredible vegan discovery. It is bean water – the thick gloopy liquid that you would normally pour away before enjoying your chickpeas or beans. Read more here.)
So, Saturday morning we had a lush vegan full English breakfast and made our own baked beans (THE best – check it out here and you’ll never buy them premade ever again). I reserved the drained water from the haricot beans and Saturday evening I decided it was time to make a blueberry souffle. I made my blueberry coulis base and set about whipping up the aquafaba. Soft peaks, sugar in, stiff peaks, held it over my head and escaped dry – ready to go. Folded in the coulis, spooned into pregreased ramekins and into a hot oven. Wow they looked promising when they came out the oven with a beautiful rise…
… and then quickly started sinking. I decided to dive in with my spoon, expecting greatness. Unfortunately it was a cooked top with a bit of blueberry flavoured foam underneath and a syrup at the bottom. Not sure anyone won awards with a “foamy” souffle. Thankfully I had some leftover vegan cream cheese in the fridge, whipped some blueberry coulis into it, threw it over a biscuity base and voila – a speedy backup pudding for a hungry boyfriend.
Back to the drawing board on the souffle front for a little while…
The sun rose on Sunday morning and I had a new blueberry-aquafaba sense of determination and I decided to stick with an aquafaba recipe I know works well. Aquafaba meringues. We had a friend coming round that evening and we had already planned to cook a sweet potato and chickpea tagine, so I opened the tin of chickpeas early to drain out the water, thicken it up and allow it to cool.
Yes, I did have a slight *what am I doing with my life* moment when on Sunday morning I was draining water out of a tin of chickpeas at 09:30 and reducing it down.
Alas, it was worth it.
So I reduced the aquafaba down until it was thick and gloopy like egg whites and left it to cool a little. Then sat down to enjoy a good book alongside a cup of orange blossom green tea – that’s more like a Sunday morning, eh?
Take two. I whisked up the aquafaba – soft peaks, sugar, stiff peaks, over the head and safe. Folded in a little blueberry coulis and dolloped it onto a baking tray. This time into a cooler oven and a 90 minute wait, time for more reading and tea.
Thankfully, this time we had aquafaba success. Crisp meringue shells with a sweet, gooey centre. Just enough time to top with a little yoghurt, coulis and fresh blueberries before they were demolished. Delicious.
So, blueberry mini pavlovas, a complete win and the perfect summer dessert. If you would like to give them a try, please check out the recipe below!
If you have any good aquafaba recipes (especially if you’ve cracked the souffle) then please let us know, either in the comments below or on Twitter.
Check out all seven Rainbow recipes HERE!
Vegan Mini Blueberry Pavlovas
For the blueberry coulis
- 140g blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 60ml water
- 1 medium lemon
- 2 tbsp cornflour
For the meringue
- 35ml aquafaba*
- 30g caster sugar
To serve, vegan yoghurt and fresh blueberries.
- Start by making the blueberry coulis. Place the blueberries in a pan and start to cook gently on a low heat. Add the zest from whole lemon and also the juice from half the lemon. Cook gently for three minutes.
- Mix the cornflour into the water and add to the blueberries. Continue to gently cook until the mixture has reached a thick, jammy consistency. Leave to cool.
- Place the aquafaba into a clean bowl and whisk until the mixture forms soft peaks.**
- Keep whisking and slowly add in the sugar a little at a time. Continue to whisk until the mixture is stiff and the bowl can be inverted without any movement of the meringue.
- Gently fold 2 tbsp of blueberry coulis into the meringue with a metal spoon – do not worry about fully combining the mixture, streaky looks pretty and means less air is knocked out.
- Spoon or pipe small rounds of meringue onto a tray lined with baking parchment (but not greased).
- Place into a preheated oven at 100°C and bake for approximately 90 minutes.***
- Leave the meringues to cool. Mix together some yoghurt and blueberry coulis (1:1 ratio), spoon on top of the meringues and top with fresh blueberries.
Serve and enjoy!
* For our aquafaba, we used the liquid from a tin of chickpeas, reduced it down until it was thick (similar to egg white) in consistency and allowed it to cool.
** Unless you have biceps of steel I would strongly recommend an electric whisk.
*** Keep a close eye on the meringues and remove when the shell feels firm. The time will vary depending on your oven and the size of the meringue.