Cakes & Bakes: Vegan lemon meringue pie

Slice of home-made vegan lemon meringue pie | H is for Home #recipe #vegan #lemon #meringue #aquafaba

We’re more than halfway through January – did you make (or break) any new year’s resolutions? We’ve been having a ‘Dry January’ and other people may be having a ‘Veganuary’. I’ve been vegetarian for 30 years (and vegan at one point) so I thought that the former would be much more of a goal. Nevertheless, I thought I should try a vegan Cakes & Bakes dish to say that I got into the whole January swing!

Vegan pastry pie base | H is for Home

This lemon meringue pie is surprisingly completely vegan. No butter in the pastry, no eggs or gelatine in the filling and no eggs in the meringue. Brilliant!

cooked chickpeas in a saucepan | H is for Home bowl of cooked chickpeas with measuring jug of aquafaba | H is for Home

Despite being veggie for most of my life, I’ve only recently heard about aquafaba. It’s a versatile egg substitute that was ‘discovered’ by a French chef in 2014. It’s the cooking liquor from (usually) white beans such as butter beans, chickpeas or cannellini beans. If you’re using tinned, buy ones that are unsalted. If you’re making your own, it’s not the water that you soak dried beans in – that contains toxins and gets discarded – you use the water in which the beans have been boiled. I made my own and used the ‘discarded’ chickpeas to make a batch of hummus.

Vegan lemon meringue pie filling | H is for Home

Many of the vegan lemon meringue pie recipes I found on the ‘net included a pinch of turmeric; I obliged but found the resulting filling to be on the orange side and resembled pumpkin pie. It didn’t affect the flavour, however. If preferred, you could use a tiny amount of yellow food colouring.

Vegan aquafaba meringue | H is for Home

Making the meringue was a bit tricky. I think I under-whipped my first batch as the lovely peaks softened and sank in the oven. Some people prefer to pipe the mixture on to a lined baking sheet and cooking it separately. I did this with some of the leftover mixture and I couldn’t tell the difference from egg white meringue! It was soft and gooey and cracked when I broke into it.

Vegan lemon meringue pie | H is for Home

I quickly & carefully blow-torched the top before it went into the oven on the lowest setting for at least 2 hours. This seemed to help it keep its shape. If you go with latter cooking method, The meringue doesn’t get as cooked thoroughly and will sink and begin to liquefy. It will be best eaten on the day you make it.

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest for later!

Vegan lemon meringue pie
Yields 1
For the pastry
  1. 200g/7oz plain flour
  2. 70g/2½oz 'tant pour tant' (35g/1¼oz icing sugar + 35g/1¼oz ground almonds)
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 100g/3½oz very cold vegetable spread (e.g. soya, olive) or coconut oil
For the lemon pie filling
  1. 550ml/19fl oz milk substitute (e.g. soya, almond, hazelnut, cashew, coconut, oat, rice)
  2. 80g/2¾oz custard powder (Bird's is vegan)
  3. zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  4. 125ml lemon juice
  5. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  6. small pinch of turmeric
For the meringue
  1. 125ml/4⅓fl oz aquafaba
  2. 1 tsp cream of tartar
  3. 110g/3¾oz caster sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extractHome-made vegan lemon meringue pie ingredients
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For the pastry
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds and salt in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Add the butter and pulse again until the mixture begins to get lumpy - like dry scrambled eggs
  3. Empty the pastry on to 2 lengths of cling film layered one over the other at right angles
  4. Bring the dough together into a ball by lifting & bringing together the 4 ends of the cling film. Flatten and chill in the fridge for an hour
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6
  6. Once chilled, generously flour a work surface and roll out the dough to ½cm thick
  7. Line the pie dish with the pastry so that it has some overlap all the way around.
  8. Put a length of parchment paper on top of the pastry and fill the pie dish with baking beans
  9. Blind bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden brown
  10. Remove from the oven, remove the beans and parchment paper and allow the pie case to cool
For the lemon pie filling
  1. Combine ⅓ of the milk with the custard powder, sugar and turmeric
  2. Whisk to remove any lumps
  3. Pour into a saucepan with the remaining milk and lemon zest
  4. Heat, stirring constantly, until the custard begins to thicken
  5. Add the lemon juice, and continue to stir until it thickens further
  6. Pour the lemon mixture into the pastry case and allow to cool and solidify while you make the meringue
For the meringue
  1. Preheat the oven to 90ºC/200ºF/gas mark ¼
  2. Using a stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment or an electric hand whisk (on a high setting), beat the aquafaba for 5 minutes
  3. Add the cream of tartar and beat again until soft peaks begin to form
  4. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating for a few seconds
  5. Add the sugar, in stages, one tablespoon at a time, continuing to whisk on the high setting
  6. Continue whisking until you reach the stiff peak stage - this could take 10-20 minutes
  7. Spoon or pipe the meringue evenly over the top of the pie filling
  8. At this stage, you can (if you have one) carefully blowtorch the top of the meringue to get attractive brown bits
  9. Bake in the oven for 2 hours
  10. Allow to cool completely before slicing & serving
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Cakes & Bakes: Lemon marmalade bars

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Home-made lemon marmalade bars | H is for Home #recipe #cake #lemon #lemoncake
It was Justin’s birthday last week and each year I take a birthday cake request from him. It’s usually something I don’t make often, if ever, because it’s something I don’t much like myself. There aren’t that many sweet things that I don’t like. But most things containing lemon or orange make it onto that list. Funnily enough, I don’t mind food with lime or grapefruit!

Last year, I pulled out & kept a page from a Stella Magazine containing a recipe I knew he’d like. It was for lemon marmalade bars by Sarah Leahey Benjamin. I promptly filed it away and forgot about it. On his birthday I asked, “So what cake do you want for your birthday?” He replied, “Lemon drizzle cake.” I think I made that last year (and more than likely the previous year too!), but it was his birthday, so who was I to say no? I flipped through my recipe folder and my eyes fell upon the pretty picture of the lemon marmalade bars. “What about these?”, I asked. “Yeah, OK.” he replied, a little indifferently.

It was delicious – even I had a piece or two. We took some with us for Granny Glittens to try when we went for a visit and she enjoyed it too. Success!

Lemon marmalade bars

Cook Time: PT40-50M

Yield: makes 16 small slices

Lemon marmalade bars

Ingredients

  • For the filling
  • 2 lemons, unwaxed
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 4tsp cornflour
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 45g/1½oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  •  
  • For the base
  • 140g/5oz plain flour
  • 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • ½tsp vanilla essence
  • icing sugar for sifting
  •  
  •  

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
  2. Line a 20cm/8in square tin with tin foil, making sure the foil goes up & over the sides
  3. Slice one of lemons into 8 wedges lengthwise then slice each eighth into small pieces, making sure to remove the seeds
  4. In a small bowl, mix the slices with the sugar, rubbing the sugar into the lemon with your fingers to help extract the lemon oil
  5. Set aside for about an hour at room temperature
  6. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour with the caster sugar, ¼tsp salt, melted butter and vanilla essence
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down with the back of a spoon, making sure it goes right into the corners
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown
  9. While the base is cooking, finish preparing the filling
  10. Juice the remaining lemon, measure out 3 tbsp of juice and set aside
  11. Using a food processor, blitz the macerated lemon & sugar mixture until smooth
  12. Add the lemon juice, eggs, cornflour, ¼ tsp salt and melted butter
  13. Purée again until the mixture is smooth
  14. Once the base is cooked, remove the tin from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2
  15. Carefullly pour the lemon filling over the cooked crust and return the tin to the oven
  16. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture is just set
  17. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan
  18. Dust with icing sugar prior to serving
  19. Using the edges of the tin foil, lift the cake out of the tin and cut into squares, rectangles or diamond shapes
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