This Strawberry and Raspberry Eaton (not Eton, that is too posh!) Mess is my desert island dessert. Ripe, sweet, plump strawberries, tart raspberries with crispy, light ‘meringue’ all pulled together under a duvet of vegan cream. What is not to like. Who knew that one day we would work out how to make vegan meringue? I am very happy about the discovery – meringue was one of the few things I missed and I had just resigned myself to not eating it again and got on with life. This is not the sort of thing you would eat everyday but this is a pretty cool birthday or special-day treat.
Vegan cream came about in the mid-20th century when post-World War II many ‘staples’ (dairy included) were not available due to rationing. There were some ingenious developments in cooking and baking (e.g. margarine) and one of the by-products of the ingenuity is vegan cream.
Strawberry and Raspberry Eaton Mess is easy to medium to make. You will need an electric whisk to mix the chickpea juice. It is too hard by hand. You will still be at it at midnight! An electric whisk is also useful to make the vegan cream.
Depending on when you make this you can use other seasonal fruit. Eaton Mess works very well with almost any ripe fruit. You can also use frozen fruit (that has been allowed to thaw).
Strawberry and Raspberry Eaton Mess is a special treat anytime you deserve it. Serve with Lavender Ice Cream if you want to be really indulgent!
I prefer chickpeas in water only (no brine or salt added) but you can use either. The chickpea juice is sometimes called aquafaba.
When making the ‘meringue’ it is really important to beat it until it is really stiff and holds its shape really well. This can take quite some time. It is also really important you do not open the door when cooking the ‘meringue’. It will sink and go sticky if you do. If you are going to store the Pavlova you must store it in an air-tight container. However, you should not store it for long at all as it will absorb moisture quickly. I recommend eating the ‘meringue’ pretty quickly after cooking.
When making the vegan cream filling use an electric whisk to beat the margarine, it will be a lot quicker.
Difficulty easy to medium
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 2 hours
Strawberry and Raspberry Pavlova is gluten-free and vegan as well as…
Tree nut free
The use of chickpea juice as a cooking and baking ingredient has recently evolved. Meringue was one of the few things I missed as a vegan and so when I started to read about vegan meringue and see it on menus I was sceptical. It is not easy to get right. However, vegan meringue is really very good. Surprisingly good!
Chickpea (or another pulse or legume) juice AKA aquafaba as been hailed as a magical vegan ingredient to replace eggs in recipes. It does work but I’m not sure it is magical. Chickpea juice does look a little like egg white. It has a similar viscosity. When whisked chickpea juice foams like egg white and when sugar is added and baked it sets like meringue.
The primary composition of chickpea juice is carbohydrate and protein the proportions of which will vary depending upon the source pulse or legume and water content. There are a number of theories about how chickpea juice foams and why it behaves like egg white. Egg white is primarily protein. I assume that the proteins from the pulses or legumes are present in the cooking liquid with carbohydrate and so behave in a similar manner to egg white. There is some research ongoing but I am not aware of any direct chemical comparisons between egg white and chickpea juice at present.