Monday, 25 June 2018

Fabaaqua aquafaba - squid ink and anchovy sponge

The next time you open a can of beans or chickpeas, think before you drain it. It turns out that leftover liquid is a kind of magic. Known as aquafaba or chickpea water, it can be used as a substitute in many recipes that call for eggs or egg whites.—it might sound like nonsense, but it really does work!
I came to this by way of trying to find an alternative method to a molecular gastrononomy recipe for producing the lightest, fluffiest,  airiest savoury sponge without having to make lavish investment in a microwave, an iSi Whip (a whipped-cream siphon with cartridges) and a paper cup(not so lavish an investment).What I unearthed was so not what I had expected to find;a vegan egg replacement that produced a meringue like consistency.Lets get something straight, I am no proponent of Veganism,and so was not the least bit interested in the fact that it provided our vegan brethren with some sort of divine solution to their dietary hardships.All I wanted was the airiest sponge that could be created, without resorting to a sub-discipline of food science involving physical and chemical transformations of ingredients that would occur in the cooking.
The name was coined by Goose Wohlt, a (vegan) software engineer in the US, who was experimenting with vegan egg replacements and found out that the chickpea water itself is enough to form a meringue-like consistency. He posted this on the popular Facebook group “What Fat Vegans Eat” and set off a landslide. If you are interested then check out the other Facebook group “Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses” and the tag “Community” on this site http://aquafaba.com/index.html. There are Facebook groups listed there in French, Portuguese and German.
If your curiosity is piqued, great. But don't just start throwing chickpea water into your recipes willy nilly. First thing to know is that for every 1 egg white, you'll want to sub in 3 teaspoons chickpea juice. A thicker liquid  from beans is always going to be easier to work with, so if your's is particularly thin, you may want to heat it on the stove until it's reduced a little.
Food bloggers across the web note that embarking on adventures in aquafaba is going to come with a bit of trial and error, but that ultimately it's pretty easy to master.
You can add lightness to cakes and mousses, make meringues and even brioche, among  other things.
It’s insane what you can do with it. When I read about it, I was like, no, this won’t work. But then I tried it and it’s amazing. Once you´ve mastered it you can make all kinds of savoury and exotic sponges.Beetroot,avocado and red pepper are on my agenda.
Serve this particular one on the side of fish dishes or with a fish pasta or fish soup.

Squid ink and anchovy sponge
Preheat your oven to 180°C (not fan)
Sift together 200 g flour, 1 tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp baking soda into a separate bowl.Set aside.
Whip 150-160 ml of aquafaba (I used chick pea) with 1 tsp apple vinegar. Like when making meringues with egg whites, always wipe the bowl and whisk attachment with some vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of any oils which can compromise the stability of the meringue.
Start on low speed until most of the aquafaba has turned foamy and then gradually increase the speed to medium. When there is no more liquid left, increase the speed to maximum and whip until firm. This will take about 10 minutes.
Gradually, while the mixer is still running on high speed, add 80 g sugar. Whip until all of the sugar has dissolved. About 2-3 min.
While the mixer still running on high speed, add 2 tbsp anchovy oil.
Add the oil very slowly, or it will separate from the meringue.
Add 1 sachet of Squid ink and whip a few more seconds,until fully incorporated and the colour of the mix has turned dark grey.
Release bowl from machine and gently fold the flour into the meringue. Don’t over mix it. You want to keep all the air you beat into the mixture.
Pour into lined (base) 24 cm round baking tin. Bake for approx. 30-35 min.

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