Daring Bakers January Challenge — Lemon Meringue Pie (Vegan Style)

Vegan Lemon Meringue - Final

Hi everyone, it's Jane posting today. I'm a Daring Baker, and today is our day to post on the January challenge.

This month's Daring Bakers challenge was Lemon Meringue Pie. I have to admit, I was rather downhearted when I found out what we would be baking. This was only my second month participating in the group, and last month's Yule Log didn't work out well. I didn't want to start off 0-for-2. I mean, vegan meringue? Not likely. But I joined this group to force myself to start baking again. Now that I'm vegan, I've had to re-learn a few things, some of which I've gotten and other things still require further study. But I do know that you can't make meringue without egg whites!

Not wanting to give up before I even started, I went out and purchased the ingredients for the rest of the pie. But what was I going to do about the meringue? I scoured the internet for vegan alternatives. I found one which uses agar and looked like the real thing. Unfortunately, I also found very mixed reviews on this topping and didn't want to risk it as I was planning on serving these to company. (Something I was taught NEVER to do!)
Ultimately, I settled on this concoction:

  • 3/4 cup lite silken tofu (firm), crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons hazelnut oil, walnut oil or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

The tofu would add some protein to the dessert which would compensate for the lack of nutritional value in the the lemon filling since I would be using Ener-G Egg Replacer, which doesn't have any protein at all. And this meringue alternative sounded like it would have a nice sweet taste. So now I had a plan of attack. Time to get to work!

We had the option of making a pie, or "tartlets." I opted for the tartlets, thinking I could customize them if any portion of the recipe didn't work out. A far less wasteful approach!

Tartlet ShellsThe crust was no problem. I've made crust many times before. This recipe was easily "veganizable" - I simply replaced the butter with vegan butter. Then I shaped the tartlets bottoms and into the oven they went. They looked very cute and I was optimistic.

EnerG Egg Replacer - BeatenNow I was getting in to uncharted territory... it was time to make the pie filling. I was able to follow the recipe exactly, with the exception of the 5 egg yolks, and a bit of yellow food dye which was necessary to make the lemon filling look like lemon filling. The Ener-G egg replacer has instructions for replacing whole eggs, egg whites, and egg yolks on the box. So, I prepared 5 "egg yolks." This was the second time I'd used that product and I wasn't really confident that it would work here. But, to my delight, the pie filling was delicious! It just looked a little weak. The lemon and lemon zest didn't really do enough to color the filling yellow. So that's where the food dye came in. Lemon pie filling should be yellow, after all!

Lemon TartsLane was hovering over me as I topped the tartlet crusts. He loves lemon meringue and knew I'd let him lick the spatula when I was finished. We "accidentally" broke one of the crusts, and so, we got a sneak preview of the lemon pie sans meringue. Again, it was truly delicious. Now I was feeling rather confident that this was a dessert I could serve.

But it was time to start thinking about the most troubling aspect of this pie, the meringue. I'd already decided on the tofu topping mentioned above.

Vegan Lemon Meringue 2Vegan Lemon Meringue 1People on the Daring Bakers board were commenting that the filling broke down when they put the pie back in to cook/brown the meringue. Well, I wasn't going to have that problem. My topping didn't need to cook. One hurdle down. Unfortunately, I didn't love the way my "meringue" tasted. Neither did Lane. It wasn't bad, it's just one of those things you either like, or you don't, and we didn't. Instead of topping the tartlets like a traditional meringue, I opted to put a light decorative line across the top. I thought the lemon alone wasn't going to be interesting enough, and the challenge did allow for a fruit topping of some sort, so I made a simple warm blueberry and sugar jelly.

When it came time for dessert to be served, I microwaved the blueberries and spooned them over the lemon tarts. Dessert was a hit which was evidenced by the fact that not one bite remained. Yay! My first successful Daring Bakers challenge.

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Comments

  1. Jane, I couldn’t be more happier for you if I tried! I’m so glad you conquered this challenge! Yay for you! Your alternatives sound wonderful and I bet your guests never knew the difference?

    Can not wait to see what you’ll do next month! Yay!

    xoxo

  2. Thanks Lisa,
    Actually, my guests knew the difference because they know we’re vegan. But honestly, I don’t think you’d be able to tell if it didn’t have the “meringue” topping.
    Thanks for the support!!!

  3. Congratulations! What a big challenge making the pies vegan!!! Great job!

  4. Wow, congrats. Seriously, if I were vegan, I would have been tempted to give up on this one. My hats off to you! They look great, too.

  5. excellent job! I think they are beautiful! I’m using silken tofu to make a cheesecake this week! Fingers crossed it will turn out! I think you did a great job with this lemon meringue!! I love challenges! Congrats on a successful challenge!!

  6. Jane, that’s true Daring Baker dedication! Great job – I love the way you fought the difficulties. Congrats on a successful challenge!

  7. I always feel like I need to learn more about vegan baking. Personally I think I would have just left the lemon and blueberry and called it good, but I commend you for the trial!

  8. Wow! Beautifully done. I am always promising myself to try more vegan desserts, and this is really inspiring.

  9. Wow very impressive! Your lemon curd looks perfect.

  10. Well done for finding a way round the ingredients! They look lovely.

  11. Hi Jane! Kind of a double challenge. You did great :)

  12. Hi Jane- what a great job adapting this recipe that relies so heavily on eggs. I am always impressed with what you can do with a little resourcefulness!
    xoxo

  13. Wow. Really great job, such a bad starting point with lemon curd and meringue.. Totally impressing creativity, and they really look great! Blueberries must have been a perfect addition.. Might have to try that

  14. Great job veganizing this recipe!

  15. Veganizing this sounds incredible..truly daring indeed..and blueberries sound nice to serve along with.

  16. Thanks everyone, for the lovely comments. It wasn’t really such a difficult trial once I found the Ener-G egg replacer. I wasn’t willing to try that as a meringue however, so how daring am I really?
    The blueberries really worked well with the lemon taste. And they were only an after-thought, since my “meringue” left a little to be desired.

  17. Wow! I never would have guessed it was possible to “veganize” this recipe. Your tartlets look fantastic! And you know what? Even the “real” meringue only tastes ok. There’s just not a lot to it, really. I think the blueberries are a better choice.

  18. I am so impressed that you could do this Jane! I think you’ve done a fantastic LMP here!!

  19. I’ve tried vegan baking ONCE in my life and it’s a true challenge. Congrats on making a great pie. I think I’ll do some investigating of various gels and such and see if I can find you an egg white substitute (wish me luck).

  20. Totally impressed by your true “daring” baker’s challenge. Way to go! It’s my first time on your site (thanks for commenting on mine) and I am thoroughly intrigued by your vegan lifestyle. While not a vegan myself, I applaud you for your efforts to change your lifestyle. I have to say I was a bit up in arms myself over the comment you received about the “slip up.” It shouldn’t be anyone else’s place to judge you for what you are or are not eating.

  21. Again, thanks for the lovely comments. Vegan baking has proven to be a bit of a challenge for me as well, although I have learned a bit and come a long way from the first few muffins I made.
    There’s plenty of literature out there on how to bake sans butter, eggs, and milk. The most interesting thing I’ve read is that during WWII, it was common to bake without these “luxury” items. So, where are all these recipes?

  22. You know- I would love to try this recipe vegan wise- unfortunately- I cannot eat tofu! But yours look great! Very industrious baking work of you…:)

  23. You did a lovely job on your lemon meringue tarts. I love all your descriptions on what you did to make it vegan. Thanks for sharing!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  24. Thanks!
    Mindy – It’s the same recipe you tried except for the egg replacer and the vegan “meringue” — next time I make it I won’t be incorporating that component. So, if you’re motivated, you could try. I’m not sure if cool-whip is vegan (I don’t typically eat that kind of stuff), but there are vegan “whipped creams” that you could try, if you really want to do this vegan.
    Natalie.. The descriptions were also for me, I don’t always remember what I’ve tried and what I’ve only considered trying!

  25. Jane…GREAT job! I’m amazed at all the innovation you did. Sorry for all the meringues as that make your subs difficult.

  26. Congratulations… wonderful work “veganizing” January’s challenge.

  27. (Jane’s dictating while I’m typing…)
    Thanks for the comments. At least I won’t have to jump through hoops for February’s challenge. OK, it looks like I will, but they’re the same hoops everyone else is jumping through. Yay. And that’s all I can say!

    From Lane: I’m looking forward to Jane’s February attempt!

  28. I’m sorry but that doesn’t look appealing at all. It looks veganized alright……..

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