To go with this week’s recipes for tacos and burgers, let’s add a sweet treat that anyone can enjoy. Instead of eggs and dairy, this chocolate mousse relies on aquafaba, the water from canned chickpeas that has taken the vegan world by storm in the past couple of years.
Everyone who’s strained a can of chickpeas, myself included, to watch the viscous liquid slip down the kitchen drain would hardly believe that it beats up almost exactly like egg whites. Who knew?
So the story goes, American software engineer Goose Wohlt perfected meringue from chickpea liquid in 2015 after studying earlier attempts by French cooks. Now aquafaba is heralded as a miracle egg replacer in all manner of recipes, even cocktails that traditionally would incorporate raw egg white. Read more about it in this week’s Breaking Bread column, which includes a recipe for meringues.
Whipped egg whites, of course, are the foundation of classic mousse preparations. This one, according to the Chicago Tribune, is even more “fabulous” for its exclusion of raw egg and embrace of the aquafaba craze.
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 percent cacao)
1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Break up the chocolate. Melt in a double boiler. Scrape into another bowl and let cool a bit.
Positioning a wide measuring cup to catch liquid under a strainer, drain the chickpeas, reserving liquid from can. Save chickpeas for another recipe. Measure 3/4 cup liquid (this is aquafaba) into bowl of an electric mixer.
Whisk the cream of tartar into aquafaba. Using electric mixer, whisk liquid until white and foamy, for about 1 minute. Slowly cascade in the sugar, whisking liquid continuously to sturdy peaks, for about 4 more minutes. Whisk in the vanilla.
Using a soft spatula, gently and thoroughly fold chocolate into meringue. Heap into a serving bowl. Cover and chill for 2 or more hours.
Scoop into small bowls. If you like, garnish with orange zest, a few candied nuts or, if no vegans are looking, whipped cream.
Makes 4 servings.