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Make egg-free meringues

By David, 7 July 2021 Activity

Meringue and banana slices drizzles with chocolate on a plate.

Meringue is filled with thousands of tiny air bubbles.

Light, fluffy and oh-so-sweet, meringues are a delicious treat. When beaten, egg whites turn into an amazing foam that can be baked to perfection. But there’s also a way to make meringues without using eggs!

food safety hazard iconhot hazard iconhazard iconSafety: Use clean hands and clean equipment when handling food. This activity uses an oven and beaters. Ask an adult to help.

You will need

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Equipment

  • Cup
  • Measuring cup
  • Metal or glass mixing bowl
  • Electric beaters
  • Spatula
  • Tablespoon
  • Baking trays
  • Baking paper
  • Oven

What to do

  1. Turn on the oven and set the temperature to 100 °C.
  2. Draining a caan of chickpeas into a glass.Partially open the can of chickpeas and pour the liquid into a cup. Put the chickpeas aside – it’s actually the liquid you want!
  3. Measure ¾ cup of chickpea liquid and put it into a mixing bowl. Add the cream of tartar.
  4. Beating liquid in a bowl with electric beaters.Starting slowly, beat the liquid with electric beaters for about 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy and stiff. Use the spatula to make sure the bits at the side are mixed in with the rest.
  5. While beating, gradually add the vanilla and sugar.
  6. Bowl of beaten meringue.Continue beating until the mixture is stiff enough to form peaks.
  7. Cut a piece of baking paper and put it on the baking tray.
  8. Put tablespoonfuls of the meringue mix onto the baking paper.
  9. Oven tray covered in meringues.Put the tray in the oven and bake for 2 hours.
  10. When they’re done, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool before you touch them.

 

What’s happening?

Meringues are light, crunchy and very sweet. But what makes a meringue so unique?

A meringue contains a lot of sugar, which makes up most of its weight. But a meringue isn’t just a solid block of sugar. It is filled with thousands and thousands of tiny air bubbles. When you look at the space the meringue takes up, the main ingredient is actually air!

By itself, sugary water doesn’t make good bubbles. A meringue needs other chemicals to stop the bubbles from popping while it’s being beaten. Typically, meringue has egg white to help create a bubbly foam: but in this activity, it’s chickpea liquid.

Anne Rieder, a scientist from the Norwegian research institute Nofima, ran tests to find out more about how chickpea liquid helps to make bubbles. Anne found lots of proteins and long carbohydrates in the liquid – both of which could stabilise the bubbles in these tasty treats.

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