Being on a budget doesn’t mean not having dessert. Make us something sweet, but cheap.
Aquafaba meringues are about as cheap as you can get! Just two ingredients – sugar and aquafaba – which is usually regarded as waste – the water from a can of chick peas!
I used ‘imperfect’ strawberries, which cost 90p for a big tub (less than half the price of ‘normal’ ones. Instead of buying expensive vegan cream or making cashew cream, I used a single small pot of yogurt, thickened with some coconut oil.
The meringues are best made the day before you need them and the desert should be assembled just before you eat. Don’t try and make it earlier as the yogurt will make the meringues collapse!
INGREDIENTS (serves two generous ‘double-decker’ portions or four small)
- Aquafaba: water from a can of chick peas
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 2 cups of berries – strawberries, blackberries, redcurrants – whatever you can get.
- One small pot of yogurt (try and match the flavour yogurt you buy to the fruit you are using).
- 2-3 tsp coconut oil
- 3-4 tsp granulated sugar
- 1-2 tsp redcurrant jelly (optional)
- Mint leaves from the garden for a garnish
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and heat the oven to 100°C.
- Prepare a piping bag over a jug or pint glass.
- Drain the chick peas and transfer the aquafaba (juice from the can) into a saucepan, heat gently, let it simmer and reduce to ⅓ a cup in volume
- Let it cool in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, then whisk it with an electric balloon whisk until it begins to bubble up.
- Continue whisking until stiff peaks form (this should happen much quicker with reduced aquafaba than with it straight from the tin).
- Add the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking all the time until all the sugar is mixed in – you should now have glossy stiff peaks.
- Transfer the mix into a piping bag and pipe out four 3-4 inch discs onto the baking paper, go around the edge twice to make it slightly more raised than the middle (think of little nests!).
- Bake at 100°C for two hours then turn of the oven, unclick the door and leave to cool for one hour.
- When the meringues are done, gently loosen each one from the baking paper (if they are still sticky, cook for another hour then allow to cool). Store overnight in a sealed tub.
- Prepare the rest of the desert a few hours before you eat.
- Spoon the yogurt into a small bowl, melt the coconut oil and mix it into the yogurt. Place in the fridge to chill so it thickens.
- Place a handful of berries in a small pan with the sugar and heat (add redcurrant jelly if you have it). Squash the fruit as much as you can and dissolve the sugar in the juice. Let it simmer for a minute or two then strain to get a clear, red liquid. Set aside.
- Slice the rest of the strawberries (blackberries or redcurrants can be used as they are) and place in the fridge to chill.
- When you are ready for dessert, place one meringue disc on each serving plate, spoon a generous dessertspoon of the yogurt mix onto it then scatter a few pieces of fruit on.
- Add another disc of meringue on top of this, another spoon of yogurt and top with the rest of the fruit.
- Garnish with mint leaves.