I have recently discovered from the food-bloggersphere this new idea that is almost hard to believe — that the brine from a can of chickpeas behaves almost exactly like egg whites. It’s known as aquafaba (meaning bean water) and there is a whole website on it (aquafaba.com). It’s a revelation for people who don’t eat eggs or want to avoid raw eggs (e.g. pregnant women). No one seems sure why it works for things such as pavlova and meringues but there’s lots of research going on at the moment. I did quite a bit of experimenting to get this mousse right. The key part is to add enough liquid to the chocolate while it melts. One drop of water will make the chocolate seize, but strangely enough with more liquid it flows again. Chocolate is actually very dry. If you ignore the fat content, you can think of it as just cocoa powder. A few drops of water makes dry powder go lumpy but more water makes it liquid — the same applies to chocolate. Aquafaba behaves as though it’s wetter than egg white, so some of my attempts at this mousse went grainy before I discovered the trick of adding liquid to the chocolate first to pre-empt the problem. Use the chickpeas from your can to make a batch of hummus.
|100 g||Dark chocolate, good quality (50% cocoa) (Main)|
|3 tsp||Vanilla essence|
|½ cup||Aquafaba, a.k.a chickpea brine, plus 1 Tbsp (Main)|
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- Break the chocolate into pieces and add to a bowl with vanilla essence and 1 Tbsp aquafaba. Place over a pot with a little bit of water simmering in the bottom. Stir with a metal spoon or dry plastic spatula. As soon as fully melted, remove from heat and allow to cool while you whip the aquafaba.
- Use an electric egg beater to whisk the ½ cup of aqufaba for 5 minutes until it forms stiff peaks and looks like whipped egg white.
- Add quarter of the whipped aquafaba to the melted chocolate and mix through evenly. This lightens the chocolate so it doesn't flatten the foam as much in the next step.
- Now tip the melted chocolate on to the remaining whipped aquafaba and very gently fold through until it becomes an even colour. The less folding you do the lighter the mousse will be.
- Pour into serving glasses or ramekins and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.