Vegan Fig, Blackberry & Pistachio Pavlova

I’m really excited about this recipe. I’ve been working on it for over a year – ever since I discovered you could make vegan meringues using the water from a tin of chickpeas (yes, really!), otherwise known as aquafaba. You can even watch a video of my first foray into aquafaba here!

The mini meringues were no problem at all, but the bigger pavlovas caused more difficulty, with the first few attempts resulting in an impromptu Eton mess. Last weekend we had friends round for dinner, and I felt it was time to try again. It went down brilliantly, and received some great reactions! The key is ‘low and slow’ – trying to rush them will not end well. It’s well worth the effort, though!

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Ingredients:
– water from a 400g tin chickpeas
– 125g golden caster sugar
– ½ tsp cream of tartar
– ½ tsp vanilla extract or paste

To decorate: 
– 500ml coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
– 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
– 50g icing sugar
– 150g blackberries
– 3 figs, cut into eighths
– 50g shelled pistachios, crushed
– maple syrup, to drizzle (optional)

1. Begin by preheating the oven to 110°C and greasing two large baking trays. Cut out two large pieces of greaseproof paper, then use a 23cm cake tin to draw a circle onto each before sticking to the baking trays.

2. In a large, clean bowl, use an electric whisk to whisk the chickpea water for about 10 minutes – until white, thick and shiny with soft peaks.

3. Whilst continuing to whisk, add the sugar and cream of tartar a little at a time until fully incorporated – this should take about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla.

4. Spoon the meringue mixture onto the marked circles on the baking parchment, then transfer to the oven. Bake for 2½-3 hours, until dry and beginning to turn a light brown colour. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside to cool completely: this should take about 2 hours. Once cooled, carefully peel off the baking paper.

5. To decorate, whip the coconut cream with the vanilla and icing sugar. Spoon half over one of the meringues, then top with half of the fruit and pistachios. Place the second meringue on top and repeat. Drizzle over a little maple syrup and serve immediately.

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Tip: If the cooled meringue is cracking and sticking to the baking paper don’t force it: the meringue isn’t cooked enough. Put it back in a 110°C oven for half an hour and leave to cool once more – the paper will come away easily and the meringue will now hold.

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