Sunday, October 1, 2017
But I so rarely make desserts, and I've put off baking for far too long, so I figured I should just go ahead and post a review anyway. The savory dishes I made were wonderful, and I want to share my thoughts about the book!
This softcover book by Rebecca Coleman covers the basics on how to use aquafaba. In case you're not familiar, aquafaba is brine from bean cans, and it's used in vegan recipes as a replacement for eggs. Somehow, when whipped, the brine acts as both a binder, thickener, and emulsifier, and it gets fluffy like meringue. It's like magic! Chickpea brine is most commonly used, but the brine from any neutral-flavored white bean would work. As Rebecca mentions in the book, brine from darker beans is fine, but the color can be off-putting.
Aquafaba works extremely well in dessert recipes that typically call for a lot of eggs, like meringue pies and macarons. But it also makes amazing homemade mayo and can be used as a thickener in savory dishes. I made the Roasted Carrot Dip from the book for a picnic back in the summer. The aquafaba helps to thicken this hummus-like dip, which is made with roasted carrots, cumin, tahini, and vinegar. It was a big hit at the picnic!
I recently made Rebecca's Chickpea "Chicken" Salad Sandwiches, which call for aquafaba to make a homemade roasted garlic mayo.
You whip the brine with roasted garlic, lemon, and a little Dijon until it's thick and white and creamy. This was my first time making aquafaba mayo, and it was so cool to watch it come together! Just like making homemade egg mayo. That vegan mayo is mixed with mashed chickpeas, celery, onion, and parsley for a yummy sandwich spread.
The book is divided into chapters on appetizers/snacks, breakfasts, salads/sides, mains, baked goods, and desserts. And the recipes call for using bean brine in some surprising ways — as a binder in veggie burgers, as a base for pesto mayo, even replacing the eggs in homemade pasta. I definitely want to make the pulled jackfruit tacos, salad rolls with smoked tofu, and the meatless loaf with miso gravy.
Eventually, I would like to try some of the dessert recipes. The lemon meringue pie is a classic that looks just as beautiful as the non-vegan version (and only has four ingredients!). Of course, there are French macarons and a gorgeous baked Alaska (that's the pic on the cover). Plus, waffled brownie s'mores, chocolate beer cake, pumpkin spice doughnuts, and so many more!