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Hi.

I am Ana (also called Ana Banana). I come from Spain but I have been living in London for almost 7 years now. I am a Materials Engineer working designing prosthetic components for amputees. In my spare time, I make sure I spend most of it in school, being a STEM ambassador or baking a strange recipe I have found online.

This whole thing started as a result of winning I'm an Engineer, Get me out of here. I was awarded with a small price to use in Outreach activities. From the beginning, I realised that I should make the best out of the prize and therefore, by just organising a Workshop, I would not be able to each as many students as possible. This is  the reason why I decided to start this: to be a permanent resource available worldwide for everyone  to enjoy.

Foam (Part 1)

Foam (Part 1)

Whipping has always been fascinating to me. From a liquid, as it is the egg whites, you can achieve a stiff foam that, when dehydrated (baked) becomes light, fully and delicious.

Whipping is the process of creating a foam. I will talk about other ways of achieving a foam (material filled with air bubbles), but mainly, it can be mechanically, chemically or biologically. Whipping is a mechanical method of introducing air by stirring it.

Today we are going to make foamy structures or sweet meringues. Traditionally, meringue has been made with egg whites exclusively but a few years back, it was discovered that the water from boiling chickpeas or beans behaves just like egg whites and can be whipped to stiff peaks as well. This water is commonly known as AQUAFABA and it can also be found on the tins of already cooked chickpeas for example: This means that next time that you are using a can of chickpeas to  cook, to make hummus for example, you don't have to throw the water away. You can make meringue!

 Image from: http://nem.org.uk/whipped.htm

Image from: http://nem.org.uk/whipped.htm

The physical mechanism of whipping eggs is well known, as the protein molecules of egg unfold during the agitation/stirring and slowly start trapping the air that has been introduced mechanically, achieving a very stiff and stable structure.

The mechanism of aquafaba is less known but it is suspected to be somehow related to the starch in the liquid, behaving just like the protein in egg.

For making these meringue kisses, you will need the following:

Ingredients

Tools

  • Bowl
  • Electric whisk
  • Parchment papper
  • Spatula
  • Oven trays
  • Wooden stick or knife
  • Zip-lock bag or pipping bag

Method

Preheat the oven at 100 degrees C

In a bowl, pour the aquafaba or the egg whites and mix with the cream of tartar.

Using a electric hand whisk or a stand-mixer, start mixing the mixture at high speed.

As it starts foaming up, start adding the icing sugar little by little.

Icing sugar

Whisk for a few minutes until very white and shiny. Make sure you achieve stiff peaks, so when you turn the bowl, nothing drips and stays firm.

Now, dip your finger in the mix and apply it to each corner of the tray to fix the parchment paper onto the tray.

Open a pipping bag and with a knife or chopstick, dip them in the food colour and make stripes from the closed end upwards, about 4 of them.

With the help of the spatula, fill the pipping bag not all the way to the top.

Trim about 2 cm of the tip of the nozzle.

Now twist the open end of the bag so that the meringue starts squeezing down towards the tip.

Place the tip 2cm on top of the parchment paper, squeeze the bag to pipe a blob and gently pull upwards to achieve the meringue kiss. Repeat this until you have filled the tray.

Freshly piped meringue kisses

Bake in the oven for 2.5 hours and leave them to dry before removing them from the tray.

 

Edible 'leather'

Edible 'leather'

Milk plastic

Milk plastic