Have you heard? The brine from a can of chickpeas, you know the stuff you drain off, makes the most amazing vegan meringue or whipped egg white substitute. This French derived discovery made global by one Goose Wohlt, has taken vegan social media channels by storm. And rightly so, not only have we been subjected to flat, crumbly or powdery tasting meringue examples until now or just plain failing techniques, but this is just simply blow your mind genius. Who woke up one day and thought, ‘I know, I bet the starchy canning juice of beans can whip up’? A clever bunny, that’s who. The original post and early testers had success using all kinds of products beyond legumes, even hearts of palm and tofu whey.
Don’t freak out. I appreciate it sounds weird and whilst some have reported a slight beany taste to their finished baked meringue, I never have because good quality vanilla will mask it if it is there in the first place but the consensus is that it really varies between brands of beans, so it may not naturally have a beany taste anyway. And besides, as the founder himself declared, “Et avant de faire les dégoûtés, dites vous bien que de consommer du blanc d’œuf cru ne plait pas à grand monde !”. In English, ‘And before you are disgusted, let me tell you that consuming raw egg white does not please many people!’.
There are just a couple of simple rules, don’t use beans in salted water, don’t skimp on quality of vanilla and you must use an electric machine and don’t give up on the whipping, it has taken some people 30+ minutes but it’s never taken me more than a few small minutes to foam to billows of white snow.
I had two failed attempts at baking the meringue into little nests or cookies due to an incredibly inaccurate thermostat – even at the lowest I could turn the knob, my oven was tens of degrees too hot which just boiled the sugar and collapsed the beautiful mounds. Two suggestions were to wedge the oven door open or turn off the oven once the meringues were in, oh and re-calibrate my oven. I will try the idea to turn off the oven and let the meringues dry in the residual heat, but for now I am too scarred by mishaps that I am keeping my meringue adventures to the non baked variety!
And thus, we have chocolate mousse. Proper chocolate mousse. Not a thick ganache, a water whip or a heavy coconut cream based concoction, but light as air, airy fairy, bubbly, real mousse. It is just how I remember the little pots of dark chocolate I used to love so much.
I have used Natvia in this recipe but I have also made it with sugar which measurements are given for in the recipe. I haven’t tried the recipe with intense sweeteners such as stevia extract powder or liquid so I can’t vouch for their results but other granulated sweeteners are likely to work such as coconut sugar and xylitol at the correct conversion rate.
Natvia is a zero calorie, zero GI, fully natural and plant based non GMO sweetener made of stevia and erythritol. Natvia is an Australian company which launched in 2009 with products which have been expertly crafted to compliment coffee and for baking. It’s now making waves across the globe from the US to China and offering an alternative to consumers within an ever growing market of natural sweeteners. However, Natvia stands a good fight in the competition boasting it’s lack of bitter aftertaste and affordable prices for great quality.
Britain has a long way to go when it comes to sweetener products with supermarket sugar alternative aisles full of the chemical stuff or sugar cut with stevia. Specialist pure natural sweeteners are hard to find and often cost a fortune and many available brands aren’t appealing with an unusual, unpleasant taste which other countries’ companies have mastered the removal of. And so, Australia’s leading brand of naturally sourced sweetener has come to save us all from our average 160 teaspoons of sugar per week (that’s 2,560 calories).
There is even a specialist baking pack in funky candy striped packaging which is finer than standard making it perfect for making light and airy baked goods; plus the genius icing mix is a fabulous alternative to sweeten frosting’s or whipped coconut cream where you don’t want the grit of undissolved sweetener.
I have been purchasing Sukrin Icing alternative to sugar since it became available as the only other product of this type in the UK. I even took some to the US as gifts for people as I was so impressed with it’s quality and application. I still am just the same, however, whilst absolutely comparable as a product, Natvia is much more of an affordable version which will allow me to use the product more freely rather than rationing spoonfuls of Sukrin knowing the cost. On Amazon UK, an official retailer of the products, Natvia Icing Mix comes in at £1.60 per 100g compared with £3.95 per 100g for the same product by Sukrin.
You have the chance to try the products for yourself as Natvia are offering THREE UK readers a selection of baking wares & Natvia products!
In my tests of the products I found despite a guideline to replace sugar with Natvia spoon for spoon, this didn’t always work for me. I underline the word ‘guideline’ as this is often misunderstood as a binding rule – ‘one must do what box says’. This is not the case, people have different tastes and especially when you are altering a science in cooking, an ingredient substitution can greatly vary results. That is by no means to scare you, but to advise to trial your recipes. For baked goods, a one to one ratio worked fine in both a carrot cake and in pineapple cupcakes (coming soon!) but in raw applications, my taste buds found the Natvia to be sweeter than sugar and so I reduced in the later trials accordingly. I found 2/3 – 3/4 of the volume of sugar worked for me but taste and adjust as necessary.
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