aquafaba but aquacarne
December 11, 2016 7:30 PM   Subscribe

Aquafaba is bean water. Is it possible to make the same kind of thing with meat water? That is, can I make macarons out of meat-juice?
posted by gregr to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm guessing no, since it's the same protein bond as egg whites, and fat will interfere with an egg foam, and meat juice likely has some fat residue. I could be wrong on the exact mechanism-- I also think it's not viscous enough. But by all means please try and let us know.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:37 PM on December 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

*Why* do you want to make macarons out of meat-juice? Will these be savory macarons? Please report.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:42 PM on December 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Just imagine a pot roast flavored macaron filled with gravy-ganache.
posted by gregr at 7:45 PM on December 11, 2016 [7 favorites]

In a way, when you make traditional macarons, you are making them out of meat-juice--in the sense that egg whites are a sort of meat juice.

I mean, you could try it, but I don't think this would work the way you're thinking. The point of aquafaba is not that it's bean-flavored water which you could substitute with meat-flavored water, but that the way the fibers, starches, and so on interact with the water to form a viscous, colloidal solution with the unique properties of being able to trap air into a fairly stable foam and then be able to be made more stable by cooking, like egg whites do. Your meat-juice would have to have the same chemical/physical properties to behave the same in a macaron recipe.

Now, I have noticed that sometimes meat (especially meat that has been frozen and then thawed) will exude a liquid which does have qualities that seem somewhat similar to egg whites. (It's thickish and, when cooked, turns into a solid proteiny substance.) I assume it's proteins, serum, and whatever else which drains out after the cells have been punctured by ice crystals created in the freezing or cutting process. If you collected a quantity of this liquid, you could try seeing if it would whip up and behave sufficiently like egg whites to macraron-ize.
posted by spelunkingplato at 7:47 PM on December 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

There is, of course, the (in)famous Pigs Blood Macaron, but SPOILER: egg whites are involved.
posted by ninazer0 at 7:50 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oh, if you're just going after the flavor, I don't see any reason why you can't make a savory macaron with either aquafaba or egg white and flavor it accordingly! Sounds delicious! I can help you brainstorm ideas if you want--beef bouillon concentrate (homemade or storebought) would probably help maximally meat-flavor the macaron ingredients without making them too wet to work. Similar process for the filling; there are veg concentrates too so you could make a gravy-blend. We could figure out ways to tweak the recipe to make it still work while not being sweet--some proportion of cornstarch replacing the sugar, something like that.
posted by spelunkingplato at 7:53 PM on December 11, 2016

If you want to make savory macarons, add savory flavors. The egg whites in macarons don't add any flavoring at all, and if acquafaba is used, a chickpea flavor would be highly undesirable.

The first macaron recipe I just googled calls for quite a bit of confectioners' sugar. I don't think you can necessarily just leave it out (macarons are a delicate balance of solid, liquid, and air), but surely reducing the sweetness and replacing it with some kind of savory flavoring agent is the direction you want to go in here.

Some kind of powder made from nutritional yeast is my first idea, here.
posted by Sara C. at 7:54 PM on December 11, 2016

I'd really love to make macarons out of not aquafaba or egg whites. It's for science.
posted by gregr at 8:27 PM on December 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

What about blood? Apparently it whips up like meringue but then sometimes falls in the oven according to the Straight Dope.
posted by mismatched at 9:42 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have not attempted this, but here is why I am skeptical: egg whites are about 10% albumin protein (in water), but meat juice's protein is myoglobin, which is very different structurally, and it's at a much lower concentration (though I haven't been able to verify exactly how much).

So at the very least, you are probably going to need to get your meat juice into a concentrate form. But you just can't boil off the water, which is the way I normally make a concentrate, because to boil off the water at 212 degrees, you'll completely destroy the protein too. You need that protein intact so you can try to only partially destroy it (unfold it rather than totally break it up) to get the "beaten egg white" consistency. Maybe you just let the water evaporate over time, but you need to do that in a careful, temperature controlled way.

Next, how to get the "whipped meat juice" stage from your meat juice concentrate. To oversimplify the science: when you whip egg whites, the physical agitation is unfolding the albumin protein in such a way to allow air into the mixture, and the air stays trapped in a sort of albumin lattice structure, with the hydrophilic parts of the unfolded protein (i.e. the parts made mostly out of water soluble amino acids) staying in water and the hydrophobic parts (non water soluble amino acids) hanging out with the air. Myoglobin, by contrast, is harder to unfold, and given how different the proteins are, I imagine they are pretty differently shaped when unfolded, too. I don't know enough about the lattice structure of beaten egg white protein to know if a similar lattice can be formed with myoglobin. Maybe, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is at least either harder to do (maybe more than just a hand mixer is required) or less stable.

The good news is that albumins are the type of protein found in blood plasma, so if you're willing to use whole animal blood rather than just the "juice," you're much closer to what you want. Of course, the whipped blood is less stable (see, the falling in the oven reference from mismatched) because you've got other types of proteins messing up the lattice. (The same happens with eggs -- if you whip up the whole egg, it's sort of like egg whites, but you won't be able to get a really stable meringue.)

Anyway, this is a really interesting question! If you try it out, report back on your experiments please!
posted by alligatorpear at 6:10 AM on December 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

You might check the molecular gastronomy community for alternatives to egg white / aquafaba. The problem is entirely one of texture, not flavor, and the food nerds are all about manipulating texture. I'm guessing for meat products some sort of bone or blood product may work?

I took a quick look online and came up with versawhip, a soy protein, as an option. The hydrocolloid list has some other options.
posted by Nelson at 7:16 AM on December 12, 2016

I think the protein concentration is the problem. If you make gelatin out of bones and throw some meat in there too for flavour and whatnot you could try to play with this Gelatin Spritz Cookies recipe and call them macarons?
posted by TheGoodBlood at 8:10 AM on December 12, 2016

Actually, maybe this macaron recipe is better to experiment with homemade gelatin (no eggs).
posted by TheGoodBlood at 8:18 AM on December 12, 2016

Oh yeah, one more idea. In Brazil people make sweets out of bone marrow. It's spongy rather than crunchy, and can be formed in a macaron shape easily. Thing is, when you get the protein in the necessary level of concentration, it's flavourless, but maybe it's a curious thing anyway? I can translate a very easy recipe for you if you're interested, just memail me. Here are some (rather awesome) images: Doce de Mocotó.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 9:52 AM on December 12, 2016

In the name of science: make concentrated homemade beef bone broth using one of the fabulous recipes online. Strain well. Refrigerate to get to the gelatinous state and skim off ALL the fat that floats up. Put the gelatin in a mixer and whip it. Does it foam up?

(I tried googling this because I am under the persistent delusion that EVERYTHING has been done at least once and reported on the internet, but I can't find anything like this.)

Oh, I do remember back in the 70's it was thing to make Jello but separate it into 3 parts. One part goes in a clear serving dish, second and third parts go in the mixer to be whipped. At some halfway point, spoon half of the whipped jello out and put it on top of the original jello in the serving dish. Keep whipping the final third until it turns a very pale color and forms stiff peaks. Voila - Jello Parfait. The only thing I'm finding now adds Cool Whip to the final layer, but I'm almost certain that we did it with just jello.
posted by CathyG at 11:52 AM on December 12, 2016

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