Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
Updated: Feb 5, 2020
The fiddliest part of this recipe is making the pastry, so if you wanted to cut this out just buy some shop bought pastry. Baking blind with the beads is important to avoid the dreaded "soggy bottom". Having said that, I have used the same dried black eye beans for about 20 years until my partner treated me to some proper ceramics beads. It doesn't actually make any difference though!
I wasn't all plain sailing getting this going. I was first inspired to try making vegan meringues when they used chick pea slop in the 2018 Great British Bake Off, and practised this before starting on this venture. As with every attempt at Yorkshire Puds.....still.....they rose, and rose, and rose......and then did a Houdini and vanished before my very eyes!
I have since discovered Cream of Tartar, an ingredient in regular meringue recipes, and Xanthan Gum. Bit of a belt and braces approach but it seems to work! I will spare you the science, but in a nutshell they make the structure of the protein stronger. Or some bollocks like that. Irrelevant really, it just works! Maybe it's magic....
I used food colouring in my lemon filling, or you could use a pinch or 2 of turmeric, or just go au natural - will still taste delightful, but just looks a bit .....blah! I used the juice from the lemon that I zested, and then topped it up with standard bakery shelf lemon juice
The average aquafaba yield from a 400g tin of chickpeas is around 180ml, so that is what I have based my measurements on, so tweak as necessary. The Xanthan Gum I got from the ASDA free from aisle and seems to be quite readily available at most supermarkets
This pie freezes well, as soon as possible after cooling whilst still fresh, and keeps for a good 3 days in the fridge
This recipe is for a 9 inch tart tin
225g plain flour
100g vegan baking block (I use Stork)
3-4 tablespoons cold water
Pinch of salt
300g carton of silken tofu
180ml lemon juice (see notes above)
2 tbsp plantbased milk - I used soy
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
Few drops of food colouring or turmeric (see notes above)
Liquid from a can of chickpeas - you need around 180ml
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
125g caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
Preheat the oven to 200c
Chop the baking block into the flour, then using your fingertips, rub the fat into the flour until in resembles bread crumbs. Add just enough water to make a firm dough.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll to the correct size for your tin. Place into the tin, trim the edges and line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beads. Bake at 200c for 15 minutes. Remove the greaseproof paper and beads, then reduce the temperature of the oven to 180c and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool
In a food processor, add the carton of tofu, including the liquid and all the other lemon filling ingredients. Blitz on high until smooth and completely blended. It will be quite runny, don't panic! Put this in the pastry case and put carefully into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, still on 180c. The filling should be just set, but not rubbery hard!
Place the aquafaba liquid into a bowl with the cream of tartar and whisk for a good 2 minutes until soft peaks form. I know at this point people like to do the tip it over your head and see if it stays in the bowl, but let's not - we've worked hard to get this far.....
Whisk in the sugar a small amount of time, mixing enough to just combine thoroughly and not overwork the mix. When all the sugar has been added, mix in the Xanthan Gum and the vanilla essence
Taking care not to damage the bubbles, carefully spoon the meringue mix from the edge of the pie to the centre in dollops. Gently tease the meringue to the edge of the pastry to form a seal. The meringue will then stay in place better when you cut the finished pie
It will look a bit top heavy, but the meringue will shrink slightly after a couple of hours in the fridge, so this overkill will compensate for that
Still at 180c, replace the pie into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until very pale golden. Crank up the temperature to 230c and bake for a further 4-5 minutes to brown the top, watching carefully so as not to overbrown
Remove from the oven and leave to cool. When room at temperature, chill in the fridge and carefully remove from the tin
Bask in the glory of what you have created and enjoy!! :-D