Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lemon Meringue Pie

I know I am late to the aquafaba/vegan meringue party, but better late than never I suppose. The issue was that I was never able to get the aquafaba to beat into stiff peaks and so I stopped experimenting months ago. Even after endless whisking on high in the KitchenAid, very soft peaks was the best I could get. And then I recently happened upon recipes that use xanthan gum. Problem solved! Perfect peaks every time (and I wonder if you could cut it down to 1/4 tsp for this recipe). Lemon Meringue Pie is one of Vegan Mom's favourites (and we have not eaten it for over 10 years) so I was happy to be able to take her down culinary memory lane. The filling is tangy and sweet, and firm without being rubbery. The meringue is some serious vegan magic.

The filling calls for both corn starch (white) and corn flour (yellow). This may cause some confusion because what the Brits call corn flour, Americans/Canadians call corn starch.

This recipe makes one big 10" pie or, as I found out tonight in preparing for a departmental party, 45 tarts.

- 1 10" pre-baked pie crust

- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/4 cup corn flour
- generous 1/2 tsp agar powder
- 2 cups + 3 tbsp (17.5 oz) white sugar
- 1 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (15 oz) water
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 cup soy milk

- 3/4 cup salt free chickpea aquafaba
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 7.5 tbsp (5 oz) superfine white sugar

Bake your shell per whatever recipe you are using. It is best if the crust is slightly underdone since you will be baking the assembled pie. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Whisk the corn starch, corn flour, agar, and sugar together in a saucepan. Whisk in water, lemon juice, and zest, then whisk in soy milk.
2. Bring to bubbling over medium high, stirring constantly. When bubbling, reduce heat to med-lo and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Immediately pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and set aside to start cooling. The filling will be a bit runny, but it will set in the fridge.
4. Make the meringue: whisk the xanthan gum into the aquafaba, then place in a stand mixer and whisk on high with a balloon whisk until stiff peak form.
5. Whisk in the 1 tbsp of lemon juice, then whisk in the sugar a bit at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly.
6. When the sugar is incorporated and the meringue is no longer gritty, gently spread the meringue over the pie filling. The filling will be wobbly, so be gentle (or pipe the meringue on).
7. Bake at 375 for 8 to 12 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned (or browned to your liking). I like to use convection for this step.
8. Let the pie cool for an hour, then transfer to the fridge. When pie is cool, put in a container in the fridge and completely cool (about 4 hours or up to overnight). If you are in a rush, place the cooled pie on ice packs in the fridge.