SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Aquafaba may not be an ingredient that many are familiar with, but Diane Forley knows it well. It’s her ingredient of choice at the recently opened Meringue Shop in Scarsdale.
“In a nutshell,” explained Forley, “Aquafaba is the broth that comes from beans – chickpeas work best. Use it anywhere you’d use egg whites or eggs as a binder."
Yes, that liquid that you usually pour down the drain with your canned beans.
Substituting an ingredient for eggs was crucial for Forley who was looking to find plant-based and organic options for her commercial bakery, Flourish Baking Company, which she opened (also in Scarsdale) in 2009. Everything she makes is vegan, kosher, and free from soy, peanuts and tree nuts and only organic. She also only uses responsibly sourced ingredients.
“The ability to use aquafaba as an egg replacement completely revolutionized my own baking,” said Forley.
Of all the sweets a baker makes, it was meringue – going through a popular resurgence right now – that was the hardest to duplicate using only plant-based ingredients. That is, until aquafaba became popularized in vegan communities a few years back.
“It’s so remarkable,” said Forley, “I can’t taste the difference between egg and aquafaba meringue.”
And neither can her patrons. Vanilla meringues are the most popular seller at the Meringue Shop according to Forley. She favors maple, though raspberry rose and creamsicle tie for second place on her personal list. Pavlovas (fruit or cream-filled meringue shells replacing a tart base), she added, are also top sellers.
All confections can be custom-ordered for personal or corporate events. Forley plans special flavors in time for the holidays -- think chai spice and peppermint. She also offers her own aquafaba-based meringue powder for sale online so anyone can try their hand at egg-free meringues and royal icing for decorating baked goods.
Oh, and perhaps one of the best features of these meringues? They’re only four calories each.
The Meringue Shop, open since Spring 2017, is located at 160 Summerfield St. Call 914-491-9205 for more information
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