Introduction – Aquafaba Desserts
Aquafaba, the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas, has been creating a stir in the culinary world, especially among vegan and eco-conscious communities. This magic ingredient not only works as an egg substitute in desserts but provides an environmentally friendly alternative for cooking at home. With its ability to produce delightful sweets catered to a variety of diets, aquafaba paves the way for sustainable living.
Aquafaba and Sustainability
Reducing food waste
Reconsider tossing away that chickpea liquid next time you cook, as aquafaba surprisingly adds value to dishes. Using aquafaba in desserts can make a significant difference in reducing food waste, while also saving money.
Lowering carbon footprint
Egg production has a considerable environmental impact. By replacing eggs with aquafaba, you contribute to lowering your carbon footprint while still enjoying delicious treats. Aquafaba-based desserts allow you to indulge without the guilt of being environmentally irresponsible.
Definition and origin
Aquafaba, translating to “bean water” in Latin, is the liquid left over after cooking chickpeas. Chefs and home cooks alike have discovered its unique properties simulate that of egg whites, making it a popular choice for vegan-friendly dishes.
The term “aquafaba” was coined by a software engineer named Goose Wohlt in 2015. Wohlt had been experimenting with vegan meringue recipes, and after seeing a video of two French cooks using chickpea liquid to make a chocolate mousse, he decided to test the liquid’s potential to form a stiff foam similar to whipped egg whites.
He succeeded in creating a stable vegan meringue and shared his findings in a vegan Facebook group, which quickly spread across the internet.
Nutritional content and dietary benefits
Aquafaba is naturally low in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fats. While the protein content is lower compared to eggs, this replacement still works wonders for individuals with egg allergies or following plant-based diets.
It has also been a subject for peer-reviewed scientific study. Samples of aquafaba have been characterized by mass-spectrometry methods to identify the key components. The data is released to the public.
Preparing homemade aquafaba
Preparing aquafaba at home not only allows you to control the ingredients but also helps in conserving energy. It involves soaking dry chickpeas for at least 8 hours before boiling them for 1 to 3 hours on low heat. Once cooked, you can easily separate the liquid to use in your dessert recipes.
Standard Preparation of Aquafaba
Aquafaba is the liquid that you get from a can of chickpeas or from cooking dry chickpeas. It’s filled with proteins and starches that migrate from the legumes into the water during cooking.
To prepare aquafaba, you need to follow these steps:
- Drain a can of chickpeas, catching the liquid in a large bowl. This liquid is your aquafaba.
- You can use it as is for some recipes, like in a batter where it’s acting as a binder. However, for many recipes, like meringue or anything that needs to be fluffy, you’ll need to whip it first.
- To whip aquafaba, simply use an electric whisk or a stand mixer and beat it until it forms stiff peaks, similar to egg whites. The exact amount of time this takes can vary, but generally, it will take between 10 and 15 minutes.
Comparison of Aquafaba and Eggs
Aquafaba and eggs are similar in many ways and can often be used interchangeably in cooking and baking. Here’s how they compare:
- Structure and Consistency: Both egg whites and aquafaba can be whipped to stiff peaks and provide structure to baked goods.
- Binding Properties: Like eggs, aquafaba acts as a great binder in recipes, holding ingredients together.
- Moisture: Both egg whites and aquafaba can add moisture to recipes.
However, there are also a few key differences:
- Protein Content: Eggs have a much higher protein content than aquafaba. This means in some recipes, especially those that rely heavily on eggs for structure, aquafaba may not provide the same results.
- Flavor: Aquafaba has a much milder flavor than eggs, which can be a benefit or a drawback, depending on the recipe.
- Allergens: Aquafaba is a great option for people with egg allergies, or for vegans who avoid eggs.
Why Use Aquafaba in Desserts
Egg replacement properties
Using aquafaba in desserts serves as an excellent source of an egg replacement in various recipes, particularly when whipped. It transforms into a light, airy consistency perfect for meringues, mousses, and more while also making the dish suitable for vegan and egg-free diets.
Supporting eco-conscious brands and products
By choosing to incorporate aquafaba into your dessert recipes, you also contribute to building a demand for eco-conscious brands and products. Opt for brands that prioritize environmentally friendly practices, such as organic farming and sustainable packaging.
Top 11 Aquafaba Desserts
Whipping up treats using aquafaba is simple. Look for seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients to make desserts like egg-free meringues, aquafaba chocolate mousse, vegan macarons, and marshmallows. Keeping your cooking sustainable is just as easy as substituting egg whites with aquafaba.
1. Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie: This classic dessert gets a vegan makeover by replacing egg whites with aquafaba in the meringue topping.
2. Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse: A rich and creamy dessert that uses aquafaba to achieve the fluffy texture typically provided by whipped cream.
3. Vegan Macarons: Traditional French macarons can be made vegan by using aquafaba instead of egg whites. You can experiment with a variety of flavors like raspberry, lemon, or chocolate.
4. Aquafaba Marshmallows: These marshmallows are egg and gelatin-free, perfect for vegans or those with dietary restrictions.
5. Vegan Pavlova: Aquafaba is the perfect substitute for egg whites in this traditional Australian dessert.
6. Aquafaba Meringue Cookies: Light and crispy cookies that melt in your mouth, made with aquafaba instead of egg whites.
7. Vegan Lemon Bars: Use aquafaba to create a creamy, tangy lemon filling for these delicious bars.
8. Aquafaba Tiramisu: This classic Italian dessert can be made vegan-friendly by using aquafaba to create the creamy layers.
9. Vegan Chocolate Cake: Aquafaba can replace eggs to create a moist and rich chocolate cake.
10. Aquafaba Soufflé: Impress your guests with this light and fluffy dessert made with aquafaba.
11. Vegan Baked Alaska: Aquafaba makes the perfect meringue topping for this impressive dessert.
To further boost your sustainable cooking experience, consider using sustainable bakeware and utensils, eco-friendly ingredients, or even growing your own produce. Additionally, make use of composting methods to handle kitchen waste.
Embrace the benefits and versatile potential of aquafaba in dessert making for eco and sustainable living. Delight in scrumptious sweets while making a positive impact on the environment, all by incorporating aquafaba into your favorite dessert recipes.