Intensely Baking

Black Forest Cake with Fluffy Vanilla Buttercrem

Did I just forget I had this blog?  Sometimes I wonder and marvel at the other oh-so-prolific bloggers.  The past few weeks have been indeed busy — writing and filming episodes of Miyoko’s Kitchen, teaching two week-long vegan intensive courses, working on my vegan cheese book.  And then suddenly, it’s been six weeks since the last post.

The intensives were fun and intense.  Guess the name says it all.  Not only I, but all of the students were tired at the end of each day.  The first week was vegan baking.  My approach is classic, so we made a lot of European-style pastries  – Black Forest Cake, Tiramisu, Gateau des Crepes.  The desserts were also made without any palm oil, which has become a vegan favorite these days, but a fat I prefer to avoid not only because it is highly saturated but because the jury is still out about the environmental impact of palm plantations.  Liquid oils, or sometimes even no oil, can yield fabulous results that do not fall short in flavor or appearance. One of the biggest hits was the Fluffy Vanilla Buttercreme, the base for most of our icings, which has no powdered sugar or palm margarine. The students also got a sneak peak into my vegan cheesebook (slated for publication in March 2012) when they learned to make recipes like vegan mascarpone and cream cheese, from which we made tiramisu and a rich, dense cheesecake.  Here are a few more pictures to tempt you…

But I think the star of the week was my flaxseed meringue, which is an omega-3 packed mound of white fluff that can be folded into mousses and terrines and piled on top of pies, just like the stuff made from eggwhites.  This is just plain fun and amazing, sort of like a science experiment.  Basically, flaxseeds are simmered for  20 – 30 minutes, strained, and the resulting goop chilled.  Afterwards, it whips up just like meringue.  Here’s a photo:

Light, fluffy, airy, and wonderful for lightening up tofu-based puddings.  The only shortfall is that it doesn’t hold up to heat, so you can’t bake it.  But I’m working on it!  And just because I can’t hold back, here’s the recipe:

1/3 cup flaxseeds
3 cups water
Combine the water and flaxseeds in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes until it is thick and gloppy looking. Strain through a sieve. You should have about ½ cup.
Allow to cool completely. This can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.
When you are ready to whip it, place the mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip on high for about 7 – 8 minutes until it resembles meringue. Fold gently into puddings, mousses, or purees to lighten and add an airy texture. If desired, you can sweeten it with a little agave or powdered sugar to taste.
Alright, now I’ve told you a bit about my vegan baking intensive. Tomorrow, I’ll try to be a good blogger and share some experiences from the cooking intensive.

 

Comments

  1. Fascinating! How much sweetener can you add before the meringue loses its body? I’m surprised that this technique hasn’t made its way into mainstream vegan cuisine yet. It seems like a blank canvas for experimentation.

  2. Jeanie, you can add enough sweetener to make it sweet enough, although a liquid sweetener should be used with a bit more discretion. However, unless you are going to serve it by itself as a topping, it’s better not to sweeten it but to fold it into something else (like a pudding) that is already sweet but needs lightening up.

  3. I have made this a few times and I love it! Blogged about it today – you are my meringue hero!

  4. I have so failed at this, if I cook for 20 minutes, the gel won’t strain….I can only strain the gel after 5-7 minutes of cooking and I get 1 cup of gel instead of the 1/2 cup per the instructions Will not whip as shown…please help!!

    Will this work in almond macaroons?

    • Terry, it sounds like the heat is too high. Clearly, if you get 1 cup of gel, then it hasn’t reduced enough after 5 – 7 minutes, but too much after 20. Try something in between, or use lower heat. What type of sieve are you using? The strained liquid should be very goopy and thick. No, it won’t work in macaroons. Unfortunately, it is only good in cold applications, such as mousse or whipped toppings (you can whisk into whipped coconut whipped cream, cutting down on the fat and calories!). It has a neutral flavor profile.

  5. I also have the same problem. I boiled to achieve the thick goo but then I had a terrible time trying to strain the seeds out. What kind of strainer did you use and what method?

    • Mindy, just like Terry, there is a happy medium between the 5-7 minutes she mentions and 20 minutes. I use a sieve, and I keep checking in other words, I pour it through the sieve and measure it a few times as it gets close to looking like a half cup.

  6. This is fascinating, thank you for this recipe! Meringue has always been something I’ve missed. I was wondering if you had to use whole flaxseeds or if cold milled flaxseeds would work?

  7. I assume you would have to use ground flaxseed? Or does it really blend up with whole, boiled flaxseeds?! I’m intrigued, and everyone is buzzing about this!

    • No, you use whole flaxseeds. The idea is to separate the goop from the seeds. Usually, what’s called flax seed goop is a mixture of ground seeds with water. Cooking them gets the mucilaginous material out of the seed without any of the actual seed so that you get a clear goop.

  8. I think I understand now. You have to actually push the goo through a sieve to leave the hulls behind, right?

  9. This is an exciting development!

    Any idea as to how many egg whites this recipe is equal to?

  10. Wow–this is such a cool idea. Now I just need a use-case so I can try it out at home!

  11. I get a cup of gooey liquid… should I let it simmer longer? It’s more than 20 minutes already…

  12. Hi Miyoko,

    I tried the flax meringue twice, and it becomes white and airy but still liquid-y when I whip it. I am using a hand held immersion blender. Is that why? Or do i need to chill the mixture more?

    • Veggie Wedgie, you need to incorporate air into it, not puree it. In other words, you need a beater, not a blender. In other words, something like a Kitchen Aid electric mixer, or electric whisk-type of device (hand held will work, too). The immersion blender doesn’t whip. I’ve whipped it at room temperature, so it’s not the chilling.

  13. Great! I will try it again with my mum’s electric whisk! thank you for the rapid response :)

  14. Is it possible that this “meringue” would stabilize if something like cornstarch were added as it’s whipped? Enough that it might be possible to cook with it? Also, do you suppose a similar goop made from white chia seeds would whip?

    • For using cold the meringue could probably be stabilized by adding some vegan gelatin as it’s whipped.

    • Has anyone tried with the cornstarch or gelatin yet?

      • You wouldn’t want to use gelatin, as it’s not vegan, but I’ve added agar, which works. You can also whip with sugar and dry it out in the oven, no higher than 250 or 300, to make baked meringues. It falls at higher heat.

  15. Is it possible to add any flavour? Chocolate or peanut butter even?

  16. can you bake with this (eg. lemon meringue pie)? i made the flax meringue, and it was truly incredible!!! i then tried to bake with it, and it turned out a lot like souffle humor from the 70s :) it rose like a balloon, and when i took it out of the oven, went completely flat. the only thing is, i ended up whipping it twice, cause i’d had it in the fridge all day (stupid, i know), so it was never as stiff as it was initially. any thoughts??

  17. Have you tried making vegan macarons with this? It seems like it would work, I’ve missed those cookies since becoming vegan…

    • Yes, you have to bake at very low heat – 200 degrees F or so.

      • …does that mean that it holds up it’s airy fluffy consistency if one manages to keep the oven temperature below 200 degrees and basically dries it (instead of baking it)… searching very much for a French meringue substitute

  18. Shahar D says:

    Hey! what a great idea.
    I wonder, what if you try to whisk it with hot sugar syrup and agar? so it can be a marshmallow.

  19. Thanks for sharing – your recipes are great!

  20. I know you said you can’t bake with this since it loses the “airyness” in the heat of the oven. However, I’m wondering if this would work in waffles. My wife has an egg allergy but loves waffles, so I would definitely like to find a way to use this in a waffle recipe if it would work. Thanks!

    • I use flaxseed goo in waffles all the time, and it works beautifully. Also, when I say you can’t bake with it, what I mean is that it won’t hold up the fluffiness. I do bake with it in certain recipes, such as eclairs, a recipe that is coming out in the September/October issue of VegNews in my article on French food.

  21. This sounds like a great recipie as I never imagined I could never have meringue as I’ve been a vegetarian my entire life! I tried the recipie twice the first with ground flax seed and the second with flax seeds. The first didn’t stran properly so I discarded it but the deco time around I made around 3/4 cup. Thinking it was to much as u should only get 1/2 a cup I quickly put back in the pot on the stove and got a gloppy 1/2 cup of goo. My question was what is the consistency supposed to be like because I think my mixture is to thick to beat also I don’t have a stand mixer so i was beating it with a whisk how long should it take if I were to beat it by hand?

    • You should use whole flax. The idea behind this meringue is so that you get the benefits of flax without the flavor. Flaxseed goop made with the ground flax tastes strongly of flax.

      You should get a 1/2 cup of goop, which will be like thick egg whites. But beating by hand — never done it. It will take a long time! Hope you have strong arms!

  22. I tried this recipie a third time and again it did not work. I used whole flaxseeds and then beet The mixture with an electric mixer and after five min there was still no increase In volume. How long should i be beating the goo before i see anything (whiteness foam etc.)? Am i missing a step or not beating long enough To see a growth in volume?

    • As the recipe says, it needs to be beaten on high for 7 to 8 minutes, longer if your electric mixer is on the slower side. But you should see foam after 3 to 4 minutes. It does need to be chilled before using, so it may not whip if you whip it just after straining.

  23. I used the flax goo to create french toast yesterday and it was amazing! I stopped simmering at closer to 1 cup than half a cup. After it was refrigerated I whipped it by hand with Almond milk, cinnamon and vanilla. It seemed like it wasn’t working at first, but then I just turned up the pan a little bit higher and viola!

    Thank you for sharing this technique so that my family full of allergies can play around with long missed favorites from our past!

  24. This sounds great and just what i’ve been looking for. Do you know if you can use ground flaxseeds, or do they have to be whole?

  25. This is a great vegan alternative for making delicious meringues!

    Many thanks for sharing the recipe. My readers are going to appreciate it too!

  26. Would I be able to use this for Swiss Buttercream? Kind of like a regular Swiss Buttercream that uses egg based meringue for it’s structure….

    I want to adapt a recipe for Swiss Buttercream

    Say for example with this recipe from Smitten Kitchen:

    1 cup sugar
    4 large egg whites
    26 tablespoons butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    But instead of 4 large egg whites I would weigh out the flax goop to match the amount of egg white required.

    Have you ever tried making swiss buttercream with this?

    It would be
    1 cup raw sugar
    however many ounces of flax goop to match the egg whites
    3 sticks + 2tbsp Earth balance or Coconut Oil
    and 1 tsp vanilla

    • Charity, I have two buttercreams in my upcoming cookbook, The Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples that are very European – no powdered sugar or shortening. I avoid Earth Balance – it’s too salty for buttercream.

  27. sandibfree says:

    speaking of making mayonnaise… Can the flax gel goop be made by simmering almond milk with the WHOLE flax seed and follow the mayo recipe accordingly?

  28. This is perhaps a very stupid question but here I go:
    Can I keep the remaining ”soaked/gooped” flaxseed? It breaks my heart to discard them!!!!!!!!
    Could I use them let’s say… in porridge the next morning?
    Thank you xo

    • It’s not stupid at all! This Will be in my upcoming book, but I actually make them into crackers. I flavor them, spread them thin, and bake ata low temperature. They for delicate flax crackers that are delicious.

  29. Hi THere

    dont suppose you have managed to get to the bottom of making this into actual meringues yet have you?

    • Yes, recipe will be in my next book. But it’s a bit tricky. Some people have good results, and others don’t. So you might have to try it a couple of times.

  30. I just made this, it works marvelously! How can I store this? How long can I keep it in the fridge? Should I freeze it? Thanks.

    • You can refrigerate it for a few days or freeze it, depending on your use. Have fun! I’ll have recipes using this in my new book, The Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples.

  31. Angela Willis says:

    Could you mix this with a palm or beet sugar and flavoring, and pipe it into macaroons, using a dehydrator?
    Also, does this have a meringue or “Angel Food” taste to it?

  32. lipaa mirgh shah says:

    if i want to do a profesional vegan baking course than where can i do it in india mumbai.

    • I don’t know of anything in India, but if you can get to New York, Fran Costigan teaches a wonderful course at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Today John and Lisa O. discuss some new vegan businesses listed in the directory, the LA School District’s adoption of Meatless Mondays, a new documentary about climate change (the word is anthropogenic!), Lisa’s Ethiopian restaurant challenge, John’s upcoming visit to Chicago, and a promising-looking flax-based recipe for vegan egg whites. [...]

  2. [...] Flax cream credit: this ingredient was invented as ‘flax meringue’ by Myoko at http://www.artisanveganlife.com/intensely-baking/ [...]

  3. […] Meringue with no egg whites, no soy, no gelatin, no agar and no coconut – what?? You’ll doubt the reality of this recipe until your flax-seed goo morphs into fluffy clouds of meringue before your eyes. Magic I tell you, magic. (Adapted from Artisan Vegan Life) […]

  4. […] recipes now. I’m hoping to combine this product’s magic with Miyoko Schinner’s Flaxseed Meringue to recreate the Hummingbird Bakery’s Cinnamon & Custard tart, and I’m also working […]

  5. […] to me is that the seed gel trick works for meringue and mayonnaise.  For a meringue, follow this recipe, perhaps with some added vanilla as recommended […]

  6. […] to replace the egg. I must give credit to Miyoko Schinner for possibly inventing this method and popularizing it in her teachings. Want to use flax gel in an already vegan recipe for extra binding power or to swap out another […]

  7. […] another option is folding whipped flax seed gel into the freshly made and still soft mousse (see Miyoko’s recipe on Artisan Baking Life). To get flax seed gel, boil 1/3 cup flax seeds with 3 cups water for about a half hour, or until […]

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