I have a confession to make. Today we will make a dessert that in recent years has become my favorite. Even before becoming vegan. And I’m so glad the vegan version of it, in my opinion, is much more delicious than the original. That being said, the technique is not easier nor faster than the original recipe. Perhaps a little bit longer. The reason is, that in order to make the Vegan Italian Meringue, we will have to use aquafaba and reduce it the night before or a few hours before using. Then we’ll let it cool down in the fridge.
The truth is, when I was on a culinary internship in the Loire Valley in France, I learned that even for the non-vegan version the process can get longer if you aim to get the best quality meringue. To do this, they use eggs that have actually been aged for several weeks, if I am not mistaken, in order to make the protein more concentrated. Both for Lemon Meringue Pie recipe and for Macarons.
Another nice anecdote related to Lemon Meringue Pie
Is its history. It turns out that Lemon Meringue Pie is a 200-year-old American invention. In the early years of the 19th century, the state of Philadelphia was then called the “Athens of America”, Thanks to the cultural changes that emerged at those times. It was during this period and in this region that the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution were written. These events attracted wealthy merchants and young entrepreneurs and led to sophisticated developments and inventions in various fields like science, art business, and also the development food industry and culinary.
One of the entrepreneurs and innovators, Elizabeth Goodfellow, was of the most creative and original culinary figures in the early 19th century according to food historian Becky Diamond. She operated a pastry shop that had never been seen before in those years, as well as a women’s cooking school. First of it’s kind. The same Elizabeth is responsible for the Lemon Meringue Pie structure. Three layers existed even before her and she put them together to create this wonderful dessert. You can read more about her in the book.
Mrs. Goodfellow: The Story of America’s First Cooking School
And in the meantime, I’m happy to celebrate this collaboration of female entrepreneurship that emerged in a period when it wasn’t obvious at all along with veganism and compassion in making this amazing dessert.
This pie has three parts.
Crispy Vegan Pie Crust, Vegan Lemon Curd, and the Vegan Italian Meringue. It is important to follow the instructions correctly so that the texture and consistency in those three layers are good and complimenting one another.
For the vegan Pie crust
We will make sure to mix the cold vegan butter cubes well with the flour but not overworking the dough too much. We want to avoid developing gluten. A nice tip I found online is to add a little vinegar to the mixture. This gives a much crispy crumbly result. Once the dough is combined, we will place it between two baking sheets and let it cool in the fridge for 30 minutes. this will make the dough easier to work with. Overcooling will make the dough too hard to work with. If that happened, take it out of the refrigerator and wait until you can easily roll it.
After it has cooled, roll the dough to a thin layer between the 2 baking sheets. We will remove one baking sheet. Lift the dough layer and place it carefully inside the pie pan. Tighten the dough to the bottom and at the sides of the mold. Cut the edges with a knife. Using a fork, we will create holes in the dough. Place a round cut baking sheet on top. Then pour uncooked beans to create weight. That will prevent the bottom of the dough from rising in the oven. Bake in a preheated oven. After 20 minutes lift the weight of the beans carefully and continue to bake until our crispy base is ready.
For the vegan Lemon Curd
The lemon curd is very simple. Just measure and put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook until fully combined and thickens. Pour the lemon curd only after the crispy base is ready and has cooled completely. Once we have poured the filling it can need to stabilize in the fridge before piping the Italian meringue.
For the vegan Italian meringue
I used Aquafaba – chickpea water that has been reduced either the night before or a few hours before and cooled in the fridge. How do you know if your Aquafaba is good for meringue? It should reach a thick gelatinous texture as egg white has. This way the protein inside it is more concentrated and will be stable for much longer. I would like to point out that if you use a hand mixer you can definitely use half the amount listed in the meringue recipe. The reason is that a standing mixer does not reach such a small amount at the bottom and fails to whip it. So, in the recipe, I use double the amount because of a standing mixer. There was quite a lot of Meringue left so you can use the remaining meringue for more recipes. Macaroons, Marshmallow, Chocolate mousse, and more.
Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie
- Mixing bowl
- 3 Baking Sheets
- Pie tin mold 26 mm
- Standing Mixer
- Sugar Thermometer
- Piping bag with a round tube
For The Pie Crust
- 250 Grams Flour
- 150 Grams Vegan Butter
- 80 Grams Powdered Sugar
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp. Ice Water
- ½ Tsp Vinegar
For The Lemon Curd
- 150 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
- Lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 120 ml Coconut cream
- ½ Tsp Agar Agar
- 3 Tbsp. Cornstarch
- 180 ml Soy milk
- 1 Flat Tsp Turmeric for color or 1 drop yellow gel coloring
For The Vegan Italian Meringue
- 150 Gram Reduced Aquafaba from 2 cans of chickpeas reduce the amount to half
- ⅕ Tsp Cream of tartar powder
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Paste
- 200 Gram Sugar
- 2 Tsp Agar Agar
- 80 ml Water
For the Pie Crust
- In a bowl, mix sugar flour and salt
- Into the mixture add cold butter cubes and mix preferably with a dough cutter so as not to heat the butter. We want to create a sandy texture when each grain of butter is wrapped in flour.
- Gradually add the ice water and mix with a spatula. With all the water inside process the dough quickly on cold marble. Combine into a wheel shape, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.
- After half an hour, roll the dough with a rolling pin between 2 baking sheets so that it does not stick to the surface. Roll out thinly to fit in a baking pan. Place the dough on the pan. Clamp the dough to the sides and cut the edges, make a hole in the base of the dough with a fork, and put it in the refrigerator again for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees, take baking paper and cut a little over the size of the pie, place over the dough and add raw rice or beans or any other legume to create a weight based on the dough.
- Bake for about 20 minutes with the beans. After 20 minutes, remove the weight of the beans from the pie and continue to bake for another half hour. Check occasionally that it is nicely golden and does not burn. When ready, remove and allow to cool.
For The Lemon Curd
- Mix the soy milk well with the cornstarch so that there are no lumps.
- Put all the other ingredients in a small pot, add the cornstarch mixture too and mix well. Bring to a simmer and stir with a spatula until it begins to thicken to a liquid pudding texture - a few minutes after boiling.
- Once ready to pour the mixture into the crunchy dough, flatten with a spatula and refrigerate for two hours.
For The Vegan Italian Meringue
- Put the sugar, agar and water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the syrup reaches 118 degrees about 7 minutes after boiling. Use a sugar Thermometer to check
- At this time, beat the chickpea water with an electric mixer and add tartar cream or vinegar. Beat on high speed until a soft foam is obtained. At this point vanilla puree should be added.
- Pour the syrup into the side of the bowl and continue to whisk at high speed for 10-8 minutes until you get a shiny meringue with pointed and stable edges. If you have not yet settled in, continue to whip!
- Once ready, transfer to a perfusion bag with a round center and with this meringue, you can go to a lot of options. (Crembo, macaroons, kisses, etc.) Pour over the cake to the shape you want. Take out a few minutes before serving. When serving you can use a burner to lightly burn the meringue and create a wonderful aroma of marshmallows.