My friends were estatic when I mentioned that I made a gluten-free lemon meringue pie. I promised them a recipe and now I can finally share one. Lemon desserts come in second place to chocolate desserts. When not baking brownies, lemon bars the next option. My mother-in-law is a maven when it comes to lemon meringue pies. I try emulating her recipe but I sometimes find myself struggling with making the lemon curd. Sometimes I manage to achieve the right consistency and sometimes it’s nothing more than a hot liquid mess. My mother-in-law will always dwarf me but the efforts are worth it. It bothers me that I can’t always successfully duplicate the desserts I love but at least I can try until I do.
A lemon meringue pie consists of a pastry pie crust base, lemon curd, and a meringue. For a lighter and gluten-free dessert idea, I nixed the pastry pie crust completely. I made and used the meringue as a pie base instead. Hubby insists that I make lemon meringue pie this way from now on. I agree with him. For the lemon curd, I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice from lemons and not bottled lemon juice. I learned that the hard way and anyway the flavors are more authentic with actual lemons. It takes a little time and thought to make this pie. The lemon filling needs to cool for a couple hours and the pie crust is best eaten the same day as when it was prepared. However, it is easy work and the results are worth the patience! Winter days can be dark, cold and dreary. I can’t think of a better way to let a little sunshine in during this time of year than with this light and gluten-free lemon meringue pie! People claim that lemon meringue pie is a spring dessert. I say bah humbug! Lemon oriented desserts are great year round! 🙂
For the lemon curd recipe, you will need:
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup of cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted vegan butter
For the meringue pie crust, you will need:
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Instructions for the lemon curd
Combine water, cornstarch, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan. Whisk until blended. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Whisk until combined Slowly drizzle egg yolks into the mixture while whisking. Return to medium-high heat and cook another 2-3 minutes. Put lemon into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap right on the surface of the lemon mixture. Refrigerate until cold – about 2 hours.
Instructions for the meringue pie crust
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is very stiff and glossy. Add the vanilla extract and mix in well. Spread mixture into the prepared pan forming a shell by spreading the mixture up the sides of the pie plate. Bake for 50 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the meringue crust in the oven for another hour. Remove from oven and allow it to cool completely. Fill pie crust with lemon curb just prior to serving.
Yields 8 servings