I’ve decided that nothing bad can come from a Sunday afternoon in the kitchen, hanging out with friends and family, baking a pie, listening to good music and relishing the last of the sunshine. Baking–to me, anyway–is therapy, love and indulgence all wrapped up in one delightful package. Particularly if you pick something that’s a challenge and you watch (with great anticipation) come together beautifully. This pie is that.
Any vegan knows that there are certain hurdles they approach with trepidation when they’re transitioning to a life free from animal products and meringue was certainly that for me. It’s all eggs; how could there possibly be an alternative?! Only, you then realize that plant-based foods really never cease to wow you and aquafaba is absolutely a wonder food in that department. Within only a few minutes you can witness rather noisome brine from a can of chickpeas (sorry little guys) transform into the lightest, fluffiest meringue that you never thought possible. Taste on point, texture on point, this is THE recipe to wow your die-hard egg enthusiasts with. Or, you know, do Mama proud as was the case for me.
This lemon meringue combines ground almonds and flax with regular flour to give the base a delicious golden hue and buttery texture, uses tofu to enrich a tart lemony filling and is slathered with a heavenly meringue whip. I dare you not to fall in love and devour immediately.
Ultimate Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie
- 1/4 Cup Ground Flax
- 1/4 Cup Ground Almonds
- 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- 10 Tablespoons Vegan Butter
- LEMON FILLING
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- 2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Lemons (zested and juiced)
- 1 Tablespoon Agar agar (Veggie gelatine)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Lemon extract
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
- As required Yellow Food Colouring (Optional)
- 1 Cup Silken Tofu
- 3/4 Cup Aquafaba (chickpea brine)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Caster Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Xantham Gum
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (Optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 350F/180C and grease a 9 inch pie dish.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, ground almonds and flax and sugar. Mix well.
3. Add in the tablespoons of butter and use fingertips and thumbs to rub the butter into the dry ingredients.
4. Once the butter is evenly distributed, begin to bring the mixture into a ball, adding a splash of water if required to help bind the pastry.
5. Chill the pastry until required (great step to make ahead of time!) or, on a well-floured surface, gently roll it out until about a 1/4 inch thickness.
6. Transfer the pastry into your pie dish. Don’t panic if it rips! Patch it together until you have an even layer coating your dish, with no holes remaining.
7. Place a parchment round over the base and cover with baking beans. Blind bake in your oven for 10 minutes. Then, remove the beans & parchment and bake for a further 5 minutes until just firm.
8. While the pie crust is baking, combine all lemon filling ingredients except the food colouring (if using) and tofu in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir continuously until it begins to thicken (~ 5 minutes). Stir for a further 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and add food colouring if desired to give a more yellow colour. Leave to cool. I transfer the mix to a shallow bowl to speed up the process.
9. Clean your large mixing bowl out and dry completely. Into the bowl add your aquafaba and cream of tartar. Mix with a high-speed hand mixed for about 3-4 minutes until frothy. Add your sugar 1 tablespoon at a time while mixing on high continuously. Keep going until stiff peaks form. Add in the xantham gum and vanilla extract (if using).
10. Into a food processor place your tofu and pulse until relatively smooth. Add in your lemon filling and mix until you have a smooth, homogeneous filling. Transfer this to the pastry base.
11. Spread your meringue layer over the top of the lemon filling, taking care to spread to the very edges, leaving no filling showing. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is just starting to brown, rotating the dish half-way through to ensure an even bake.
12. Turn the oven down to 300F/160C and continue baking for 8-10 minutes.
13. Place the dish on a wire rack and cool at room temperature until the base is a comfortable temperature to hold, then transfer to the fridge and leave to cool completely (2-3 hours). You can speed up the process by placing in the freezer for an hour instead, but remember to check on this so you don’t let the pie freeze completely!
14. Keep chilled and enjoy for up to 2-3 days (if you can make it last that long!)
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Photo: Kat Kennedy