|Vanilla Citrus Meringue|
I was on the search for an edible, acceptable, vegan meringue and after several attempts in the test kitchen, I found one. The original recipe makes A LOT of meringues and this is probably good because the first batch that went into the oven did not bake properly. I tweaked the directions a bit and they worked. Woot! Sometimes, in order to bake, you have to become a scientist.
Here is the original recipe (with directions)
1/2 Cup Ener-g Egg
3/4 cup ice cold water
2 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2T white sugar
1 t agar powder + 1/3 cup water
Sprinkle the agar powder over the water in a small saucepan and let sit 5 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the ener-g egg with the ice cold water, beating on the highest setting with a hand mixer for about 8-10 minutes. NOTE: THE ENER-G EGG EXPANDS A LOT- USE A DEEP BOWL. Halfway through, turn on the flame under the sauce pan to medium low heat and let simmer, whisking occasionally. Continue mixing the ener-g egg until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and sugar and mix for another 2 minutes. When the agar mixture is completely dissolved, add it to the beaten ener-g and blend for yet another 2 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator for about half an hour to allow the agar to firm up. Preheat the oven to 350. (extra step) You are now free to make whatever your heart desires with this vegan meringue. For crisp meringue cookies, bake for 30 minutes. Adjust accordingly depending on your recipe. Again, for pies make sure the filling is thoroughly baked. Any excess moisture will destroy the meringue. My next mission is angel food cake. I’ve heard that Bryanna Clark Grogan has already made a successful one, which she refuses to share with the general public. For now, at least. I’ll conquer this one on my own.
That was great and Ener-G does expand a lot. It expands more than you might anticipate. I had to make changes to the directions though and I've highlighted those in red. First, when I baked the meringues for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, the insides were gooey and that was gross. So, I switched the temperature to 230 degrees and baked for about 90 minutes. What you are essentially doing is drying the meringue in the oven as opposed to baking it. You can pop one out as a sacrifice to see if they're ready, but remember-- meringues crisp as they cool. If they're left in too long though, they brown. Next is where I inserted an extra step. The first sheet that I put into the oven were done exactly as the original directions say, but it didn't quite work for me. When I took the meringue from the refrigerator it had lost some of its 'puff' so my cookies flattened a little. To fix this on the second sheet, I put them on the mixer again until I saw peaks. This seemed to put just enough air back in them. possibly this deflation issue could be fixed by beating them longer the first time, but I haven't tried that. I just know that the meringue should form peaks and not slip the bowl. It also shouldn't flatten when piped or spooned onto a baking sheet (use parchment paper on top of your sheet so the meringues release). Finally, vanilla seems to be the default flavor for everything. Feel free to substitute any flavor you like and get creative. I used fresh orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla for the ones above. Do you remember the chewable pills that had an orange flavor? Were they children's Tylenol (think mid '80's)? I loved how they tasted. The flavor of these was similar (at least I think it was, it's been awhile). If you hated that taste though, don't worry! Just don't use my flavoring combination.