One dessert I thought I would have to forgo once becoming a vegan was my favourite lemon meringue pie. As a vegetarian, I used to make my own lemon curd and I always had a good stock in my larder. I knew for that you needed egg yolks. I had made meringues previously from aquafaba and was totally amazed by how good these were. Though for the life of me, I could not see how a vegan lemon curd would be any good. I was glad to be so wrong on this account. I have made this zingy zesty lemon filling for this tart using cornflour and now this custard powder method I prefer this one better, as it is much creamier. I was also so amazed that this recipe went down so well with non- vegan or vegetarian friends and family. That really does feel good.
- 210g gluten-free plain flour, or the same amount of my flour blend 1
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp xanthan gum, if not already included in the flour
- 60g dairy-free butter
- 60g vegetable shortening such as Trex
- 2-3 tbsp ice-cold water
- 80g custard powder such as Birds, making sure it is vegan or gf
- 550ml soya or cashew milk
- zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
- zest of 1 lime
- 125ml lemon juice
- 125g caster sugar
- generous pinch of turmeric ( this will not make it taste odd)
- 125ml aquafaba, chickpea water
- 1/2 cup of caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
Measure out the flour, salt, and xanthan gum if needed and sieve into a cold mixing bowl. I put one in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Add in the butter and shortening. With the tips of your fingers rub gently until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water, making sure you only add a little at a time as you may not require all the water. With a round-edged knife, gradually bring the mixture together and finally using your hands gather it into a ball. Wrap it in clingfilm and place into the fridge for at least an hour. Alternatively, you can do the above steps using a food processor. Making sure to stop as soon as the mixture comes together.
Once rested, remove from the fridge then grease and line your tart tin. Roll out the pastry dough between two pieces of baking parchment dusted with flour, this stops the delicate pastry from sticking. Roll until you get the size you require (depending on the pan you are using). You will need it to be roughly 2mm thick. Lift the pastry into the pan using your rolling pin, press it down and then prick the bottom with a fork. Trim off any excess pastry.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Place baking parchment onto the pastry and then fill with baking beans ready to blind bake. This stops the bottom of the tart from being soggy. Place on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, take out the baking beans and leave to cool.
Mix one-third of the dairy-free milk with the custard powder, sugar, and turmeric. Using a whisk to make sure there are no lumps. Then pour it into a saucepan with the remaining milk and zest. On a medium heat stir continuously until the custard is thick. Add the fresh lemon juice and whisk in. Pour into the pastry case. leave to cool before you make the meringue.
Place the aquafaba, cream of tartar and vanilla in a clean of a stand mixer or use a good handheld one. Whisk for at about 5-10 minutes. This does require patience, but it is so worth it. Keep whisking until you have soft peaks. At that stage, you can begin to add the sugar This needs to be added very slowly, a tablespoon at a time. Continue to whisk until you have strong stiff peaks. The age-old test is to hold the bowl above your head and it stays in the bowl. Once you are at this stage, you can either spoon onto the meringue or place it into a piping bag and pipe on. Make sure that all the curd filling is covered and there are no gaps.
You can then caramelize the top either using a kitchen blow torch or by putting it under a medium grill. Be very careful here as this will only require 1-2 minutes and can burn very quickly so do not take your eyes off it.