These show-stopping lemon vegan meringue herbal popsicles are tangy, icy, and refreshing. They’re a bit of a labour of love, and you’ll have plenty of extra vegan meringue to make meringue cookies or pavlova, so get your brûlée torch ready!
These are the fifth and final instalment of my herbal popsicle series, and I really wanted to finish with a bang. What better way than to end with a recipe involving fire?
These are fun to make, but difficult to store, so I suggest taking the popsicles out of the freezer and topping them with meringue right when you’re ready to serve them. You’ll just squish the meringue if you try to put them in a container. Freeze the popsicles and prepare the meringue separately, and gather your popsicle-loving family and friends when you’re ready to assemble them.
I call it “quadruple lemon” because the popsicle is made with a strong infusion of three lemon-scented herbs, plus fresh lemon juice.
The vegan meringue is optional, but the sweetness is really nice to balance the tart popsicles. It’s made with aquafaba, which means “water of the beans” because it is made from the liquid from a can of chickpeas. Someone discovered that this liquid behaves like egg whites when whipped, and now it’s a popular vegan alternative to many dishes requiring that special fluff. There’s a Facebook group dedicated to sharing recipes and tips for using this wonderful new vegan egg replacer.
Yeild: 4 popsicles and way more meringue than you need
Handful of lemon-scented herbs: lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon thyme + more for garnish if desired
3-4 stevia leaves
½ cup lemon juice (approx. juice of 2 large lemons)
3 tbsp maple syrup (or more to taste)
Vegan Meringue Ingredients
Liquid from a can of chickpeas
½ tsp cream of tartar
1” vanilla bean
1 cup organic cane sugar
Make the Lemon Popsicles
- Make a strong infusion with the lemony herbs and stevia by steeping them in about a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes.
- In a measuring cup, mix ½ cup lemon juice, ¾ cup of the lemon herbal infusion and 3 tbsp maple syrup. Whisk. Taste for sweetness, add more maple syrup to taste if you like. Don’t forget that if you are doing the meringue, it’s basically sugary air so you won’t need to make the popsicle base as sweet as you might if you’re eating the base without the meringue.
- Optional – place thyme sprigs or herb leaves in the molds before pouring in the liquid.
- The maple syrup will settle, so whisk thoroughly and quickly pour into molds immediately.
The Vegan Meringue made with Aquafaba
Because you need to open a can of chickpeas and use the liquid for this recipe, you might as well use all of the liquid. This makes WAY more meringue than you need so you might want to also plan to make pavlova or meringue cookies.
Strain a can of chickpeas and reserve the liquid.
Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds out into a medium bowl. Add the sugar. Mix the sugar and the vanilla seeds.You’ll still have some vanilla clumps at this point, but they’ll blend out in the mixer.
In a stand mixer, beat the chickpea liquid for 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar. Beat until incorporated.
Start adding the sugar-vanilla mix 1 tbsp at a time. Wait until it’s mixed in before adding the next tablespoon.
The vegan meringue will get thick and glossy as you add more sugar. When all the sugar is added, beat until you can’t feel any granules when you pinch a bit of meringue between your fingers. If the meringue still feels grainy, continue beating it.
Now for the fun part!
Get everything you’ll need ready: the prepared meringue, a brûlée torch, herb leaves or sprigs for garnish, and people ready to eat popsicles, because as I mentioned, they don’t store well once they’re decorated. Oh, and get your camera because you’ll want to Instagram these ones!
Loosen the popsicles from the mold. One at a time, take a big spoonful of meringue and make a dollop on top on each popsicle, that goes covers it about ¼ of the way down the popsicle. Swirl it around until you’re happy with the shape. You want to have some texture for scorching, so don’t make it too smooth. I imagined I was trying to get it to look like a soft serve ice cream cone with swirly ridges spiralling upwards. It was less possible in reality than in my imagination, but swirling the spoon around gave some texture to the blob.
Scorching the Meringue
If you haven’t used a brûlée torch before, I recommend practicing. Smear some meringue on a heat-proof plate and try scorching that first. You’ll find you want the flame parallel to the surface of the meringue or it will deform the meringue. Slowly move the flame toward the ridges of the meringue and you’ll see it will get tiny bubbles and quickly toast and then burn so keep moving the flame around.
With your brûlée torch in one hand and a meringued popsicle in the other hand, light the torch. Point both the flame and the pop away from you so they’re roughly parallel. Slowly move the flame toward the meringue, and scorch the ridges of the meringue.
Garnish with a leaf or sprig of lemony herbs. The tiny leaves off the top of a lemon verbena or lemon balm make a cute garnish. Take photos for Instagram.
Using the Rest of the Vegan Meringue
Here’s a detailed tutorial about making this vegan meringue, and how to flavour and bake meringue cookies.
There are also lots of delicious pavlova recipes out there that you could make with the rest of the meringue.
In case you missed Herbal Popsicle Month, here’s a roundup of my previous herbal popsicles:
- Vegan S’mores Fudgesicles with marshmallow root powder and prune purée
- Golden Milk Popsicles with turmeric, ginger, pepper, and cardamom
- Rose Tahini Popsicles infused with sweet woodruff, dipped in vegan white chocolate
- Orange Schizandra Cherry Popsicles with homemade schizandra syrup