Meringue nests with baked plums

 

This is a fabulous dessert, gorgeous sweetness from the meringues and lovely tartness from the plums, easy to make and can be prepared in advance. A perfect finale to a romantic meal for two, or stunning dessert for any meal. What great is its totally vegan and uses the juice from a can of chickpeas in place of the eggs in a traditional meringue recipe.   You can add the sugar raw and cold but if you are doing this add a little at a time. I like to add it as a sugar syrup as i have found this makes the meringue more stable. Plus if you are making a lemon meringue pie you can use this mix and finish the cooking with a blow torch. The great thing about using aquafaba is that you cant over mix it like egg whites and the final mix can be made in advance and stored in the fridge in the piping bag for a couple of days.  Great if you are making individual meringue pies and have some mix left over.

Makes 12- 14 medium nests, 1 or 2 large pavlova bases

Ingredients

12 tsp aquafaba (juice from a can chickpeas) = the water from 1x400g tin

225g caster sugar

6 tbsp water

½ tsp cream of tartar

Pinch salt

½ tsp vanilla extract

Method.

This recipe is Italian meringue as I find it more stable when using aquafaba if you are wanting to pipe it into nests.

Pre-heat the oven to 100oc / gas ¼

Place your aquafaba into a large mixing bowl along with the cream of tartar and salt. Whisk until stiff soft peaks form. (A stand mixer may be easier however you can do it with an electric hand whisk.) This can take a good five minutes. You can not over mix the aquafaba unlike egg whites so you can leave this to do in a stand mix.

 

When this is done leave to one side while you prepare your sugar syrup. In a pan add your sugar and water bring to the boil and rapid boil until it reaches 120oc in temperature, remove from the heat.

Start to whisk your meringue mix again and gently pour in the sugar syrup. Be careful not to pour it onto the actual whisk or you will splatter hot sugar everywhere including yourself. Once combined add your vanilla extract then keep whisking for a further 4-5 minutes. This allows the mix to disperse the heat and  cool a little as you do not want it too hot before you put it in your piping bag.

 

Transfer the mix into a piping bag and pipe your nests on parchment covered baking sheets. Bake in the oven for 2- 2 ,1/4  hours. Once cooked turn off the oven and leave your nests in there to dry out for and hour, or leave in the oven over night. These nests can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container for several days.

 

Baked plums

Ingredients

4 large purple or red plums halved and pitted

2 tsp maple syrup

Juice of 2 large oranges (about 1/3 cup)

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200oc / gas mark 6

 

In a baking dish add the orange juice, maple syrup and stir to combine. Place the plums cut side down in the liquid. Bake in the oven until tender and juicy. Turn the plums over 2/3rd’s of the way through and spoon over the juice.

 

 

Once cooked allow to cool then serve on top of the meringue nest with a little of the juices. If you place the plums on the meringues hot the nests will dissolve.