Fourth of July – a holiday that’s on fire. We light up the grill, we sit around bonfires and watch fireworks and we remember a day, when soldiers fought with loud, smokey firearms for our freedom. And we celebrate – relaxing and staring into the burning embers. Today I’m grateful for all that it means to be an American. Or live in America. Freedom to work where I want, love who I want, celebrate however I want, and of course.. eat how and what and when (and as much!) as I want!
This Pavlova recipe will keep you cool after a long, hot afternoon around the BBQ. Plus it fits the required Independence Day color scheme. Light and refreshing and covered in summer berries. Life. Just. Doesn’t. Get. Much. Better.
A few weeks ago, this strange ingredient, aquafaba, started to show up on recipes floating around the internet. At first, I ignored them. It seemed a little strange… then my curiosity kicked in. How and why and how on earth is this possible? Not to mention, could it EVER taste good? I was in disbelief. So, I had to try it myself out of sheer curiosity. I decided to make an aquafaba based Pavlova, which is basically a meringue layered with cream and berries. Hello – yum! It’s more traditional of Australia, but those folks from Down Under sure have got there dessert priorities straight.
I will say, the aquafaba-based Pavlova came out better than I could have imagined. Not only does it taste like meringue, it has the same texture and none of my guinea pigs could tell the difference. Uncooked, it tastes like marshmallow fluff. Cooked – it’s almost indistinguishable from meringue. It’s bizarre and I am baffled by the chemistry of it. But my taste buds sure aren’t complaining. Have I caught your interest yet? Check out the ingredients list below!
1/2 cup aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chickpeas)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Alternately to the above, you can make your favorite meringue recipe.
Berries. Lots and lots of berries.
1. Place sugar in a blender or food processor and processed until sugar has pulverized into a fine powder.
2. Preheat oven to 250 F.
3. In a large mixing bowl (or a stand mixer), add the aquafaba and beat until soft peaks form. Then, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to mix until stiff peaks form.*** At this stage, the mixture tastes like marshmallow fluff. How does this happen? I have no clue.
4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and dollop meringue mixture in desired shapes on the parchment.
5. Bake for about 2 hours, or until meringue is crunchy and moisture has evaporated.
6. Remove from oven, and allow to cool. Then layer the meringues with berries and any leftover, uncooked aquafaba mixture.
***Based on my internet research, you can’t over-beat aquafaba the way you can egg whites, so I just kept going. However, my mixture never achieved stiff peaks, so after mixing and mixing and mixing, I decided just to bake and see what happened. It still turned out quite delicious.
Soundtrack: America. By Neil Diamond.