Pi Day: Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie

Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie

It’s Pi Day, and vegan meringue broke the internet. Therefore, I bring you vegan lemon meringue pie.

Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie

I heard about the infamous chickpea-based meringue over the past few weeks on Facebook and blogs (like révolution végétale) and filed away the idea for future experiments. Pi Day seemed like the perfect time to try making vegan Lemon Meringue Pie.

Egg white based meringue wasn’t something I ate regularly before quitting animal products. Rather, I couldn’t even tell you if I ate meringue in my pre-vegan days. Therefore, my experience with meringue: a) never happened, or b) was totally forgettable. But you know, I like trying out techniques that were deemed impossible just a few years ago. And in addition, using leftover chickpea juice is resourceful, and incredibly creative. And everyone is doing it!

The pie crust is adapted from Cheers to Vegan Sweets. I think pie crust can be a little bland, but the coconut oil in this recipe makes it flaky and adds a sweet flavor. I didn’t have vodka, so I replaced it with tequila. Also, this pie is pretty non-traditional already, right? The lemon filling is adapted from a couple of recipes floating around the internet: Mister Nice Guy and Bite-Sized Thoughts. This pie had so many variables, so this is no time to mess around with recipe writing when these recipes are solid.

I doubled the meringue recipe because I wanted to try making meringue cookies as well, but that was absolutely not necessary. A tiny amount of liquid whips up into giant fluffy pillows. The recipe below makes half of what I made, and will still give you enough meringue for the pie and a tray or two of cookies.

Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie

Get the recipe:

Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Vegan lemon meringue pie with aquafaba meringue
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Vegan, Egg-Free
Serves: 1 pie
Ingredients
Crust:
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ⅓ cup cold water plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
Lemon Filling:
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon agar powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
Meringue:
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely ground sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
For the crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and cut in oil until dough resembles pebbles.
  3. Add water/vinegar and vodka and mix until completely incorporated.
  4. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, then transfer to a greased pie tin.
  5. Crimp the edges, then poke holes in the bottom of the pan with a fork.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until just starting to turn golden, then let cool. The pie will be baked again after the meringue step.
For the lemon filling:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk constantly for 5 minutes until the filling is the consistency of pudding.
  3. Pour into the baked pie crust.
For the meringue:
  1. Pour the liquid from the can of chickpeas into the bowl of a stand mixer (or use electric hand mixers…but you don’t want to do this by hand!).
  2. Add the cream of tartar, then whip the bean juice with the balloon whisk attachment until it starts to thicken.
  3. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla, then continue whipping.
  4. This process took me 7-8 minutes, but I’ve read that it can take up to 15 or 20 minutes. You’ll want to keep it going on high speed until the mixture is the consistency of thick whipped cream. If it’s gloopy, your meringue will deflate as a result. A spoonful of meringue at the proper consistency will not drip if you hold it upside down.
To assemble:
  1. Preheat oven to 200°F.
  2. Pipe dollops of meringue on top of the pie.
  3. Bake for 2 1/2-3 hours or until the meringue is toasted. The baking time will depend on the amount of meringue on your pie, and how it’s piped on. Thick layers will take longer to bake.
  4. Finally, remove from the oven. Let cool completely to set the meringue.
Notes
To make finely ground sugar, grind granulated sugar in a food processor so it’s somewhere between granulated and powdered sugar.

To make meringue cookies out of leftover meringue, dollop meringue onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, then bake at 200°F for 2 hours. Then, turn off the oven and let dry with the oven door cracked for a couple of hours.

I took a start-to-finish video of the meringue-making process: it goes from liquid to foam to clouds!

I have a few more experiments up my sleeve, and I can’t wait to see what others come up with.

Happy Pi Day!

Kelly Peloza is the blogger and photographer at Seitan Beats Your Meat, and the author of two vegan cookbooks: The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, and Cheers to Vegan Sweets.

She lives in Chicago and runs a photography business called Kelly Peloza Photo.

55 Comment

  1. Are you going to attempt angel food cake?

    1. My attempt turned out like pudding with a hard shell, and it overflowed into the oven. But the leftover meringue I used had been sitting out for a couple of hours, and I think I used too much.

  2. Thanks for posting! Can you clarify the amount of sugar in the meringue? Is it 3/4 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons or some other combination?

    1. 3/4 cup. I updated the recipe. Thanks for catching that!

  3. Wow that is so cool! I never would have known you could make meringue out of…juice from a can of beans? Genius! I will have to try that soon 🙂 This pie sounds absolutely delicious!

  4. theveganchemist says: Reply

    Hi Kelly, do you think that agar flakes would work? Thanks! 🙂

    1. They should! You’ll need more flakes than powder though, since 1 teaspoon agar powder = 1 tablespoon agar flakes

  5. […] I made Lemon Meringue Pie and a test batch of meringue cookies over the weekend, my first thought was, “oh shit, this […]

  6. […] I am using too many exclamation points!! Well, I reviewed many, but the awesome Kelly Peloza at Seitan Beats Your Meat had a video tutorial of the making of meringue for a pie/cookies. […]

  7. Is the meringue on the pie soft or hard/crunchy like meringue cookies? I can’t tell from the photos.

    1. The meringue on the pie has a crispy shell like the cookies, but it’s a little softer/chewier on the inside.

      1. Can I replace the vodka with anything else? I don’t have any and don’t want to buy a bottle. Thanks sooooo much!

        1. Yes, either another type of liquor (that would taste good with the lemon pie) or just cold water.

  8. […] this episode of Vegan Meringue Adventures: Mini S’mores Pies! After making Lemon Meringue Pie and Vegan Lucky Charms, S’mores Pie was next on my list. These mini pies have a soft graham […]

  9. Kelly, before you got the one pictured above, did you happen to have any failures that had a hard crust and liquid inside for the meringue? Do you think hard surface with gooey inside is a temperature issue and that the trick is lower heat for a longer period of time? I’ve read through the posts on the Facebook group page and thinking that’s what needs to happen although the Gentle Chef used 350F for 30 minutes and you have 200F for 2-3 hours. Being an impatient sugar fiend, I’d really like to nail this down 🙂

    1. It was still a little liquidy where the meringue touches the pie. I did low temperature/long bake time since that’s the method for dehydrating meringue cookies. I imagine that a high temperature would create a hard crust/liquid inside for this meringue.

      If I were to try something different, I might bake it at a slightly higher temperature, around 2 hours. Once the temperature gets too high, the pie crust would start to bake again. Or even baking a very thin layer of meringue, letting it cool, then adding the dollops and baking again, so there’s somewhat of a barrier.

  10. […] heard about vegan meringue on Twitter, then immediately did some googling and found this recipe for vegan lemon meringue pie on Seitan Beats Your Meat. (As a mathematician, I loved her Pi Day reference too.) Pictured above […]

  11. The beans are salted or unsalted once?

    1. I used salted beans, but either kind will work. I might add a small amount of salt to the meringue if using unsalted beans, since a little salt brings out the flavors in cookies and other desserts.

  12. […] Chickpeas are most commonly known as the Hummus Bean, but they are so much more versatile than that. I love using chickpeas for everything from breakfast scrambles to tacos, to burgers, to crispy roasted snack alternatives, and in soups. I’ve yet to try them for dessert as Blondies, or a grain free cookie dough dip, though I’ve seen many of those around the internet. More recently, their liquid has even been used as an egg replacer to make meringue. […]

  13. My meringue melted and I ended up with a watery liquid on top of my pie… Do you have any idea why this happened? It looked really nice before going in the oven 🙁

    1. seitanbeatsyourmeat says: Reply

      Oh no! 🙁 Some watery meringue where the meringue meets the pie is normal but it shouldn’t melt. Too much heat can make meringue melt, or not whipped enough (it has to be VERY stiff). Those are the two problems people on the aquafaba Facebook group have with any meringue recipe.

  14. I baked my pie for 3 hours and the center is liquid. The rest of the Pie came out great! Where do you think i went wrong?

  15. Would using superfine or caster sugar be an acceptable replacement to grinding sugar in a food processor?

  16. Noooooooooooooo…. Mine melted all over the baking tray. I followed the recipe exactly and it beat up into nice stiff peaks, I don’t know why…

    1. Oh no! When people have had problems with the meringue melting, it was either because the meringue was under or overmixed, or the oven was too hot.

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  18. How long does the pie keep fresh? and how do i store it best?
    thank you so much for the lovely recipe. I’m giving it a try just now 😀

    1. Hi Kathi,

      I’d store it covered in the refrigerator. The meringue topping will start to lose its integrity sooner than the pie, but it will taste fresh for 4-5 days.

  19. Looks like your filling recipe is the same as the one from Mr. Nice Guy’s Bakeshop, no?

    1. Yep, a couple paragraphs above the recipe, I wrote about the recipe adaptations and linked to him and Bite-Sized Thoughts (it’s based off of both of their recipes, which are relatively the same).

  20. […] would be remiss if I didn’t include this beautiful vegan lemon meringue pie from Seitan Beats Your Meat. My dad has always loved lemon meringue pie, and I have fond memories […]

  21. […] made individual vegan pavlovas using the chickpea meringue recipe I’d made before. This is the first ever time I attempted a pavlova, having never been brave […]

  22. Where did this idea come from? I am going to try it at work tomorrow!

    1. Here’s all the info: aquafaba.com

  23. The whipped bean juice tasted gross, even after adding the sugar it was yucky. We decided to go ahead and put it on the pie and if it was bad after baking we could scrape it off. After baking, waiting for it to cool, waiting, waiting, waiting, we finally ate it. It was delicious. I wish we had mounded all the whipped bean juice on top instead of only using about half. The lemon part was great too.

  24. Louise Besserer says: Reply

    Any way to get a printable version of this recipe?

    1. I added a print button at the very bottom of the post under “share this.” That should work. Otherwise File > Print

  25. Hey, I really love your recipe, but I would like to know which it’s the purpose of the vinegar. Is it gives a different taste? or is just because you like it.

    Thanks. 🙂

    PS: Sorry if I have some mistakes, I’m not a native speaker.

    1. It adds to the tenderness and flakiness of the dough.

  26. can you substitute kappa carageenan for agar?

  27. […] liquid, because no one really knows why this works. But if you’re a vegan, you can finally eat lemon meringue pie, omelettes and mayonnaise, amongst other things. And there are even discussions about how to use up […]

  28. Rachel Herriott says: Reply

    Hi! My filling got thick like pudding before it was boiling and now that I’ve boiled it 5 mins it’s really funny. Will it firm up when it cools?

    1. I’m sure you know the answer by now, but yes, agar firms up liquids as they cool. The cornstarch will also help firm it up.

  29. This was THE biggest failure I’ve ever attempted in the kitchen. Ever. It remained gooey, never gelling, and the meringue turned to flat dust. I had my suspicions with the time and temperature, but I’m not sure the mix is any good, either. Total waste of time and money….never again.

    1. Sorry you had issues with the recipe. I’m sure there are ways to improve parts of the recipe since aquafaba is a brand new technique, but there are no major issues with the recipe unless something went wrong along the way.
      Did your filling get thick enough while cooking in the saucepan? It would be difficult for 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon agar to -not- thicken any liquid, unless it wasn’t cooked long enough, since that’s a lot of cornstarch/agar.

      The meringue can be a bit finicky and will remain slightly soft and liquidy in the center, but if it was whipped long enough, there shouldn’t be issues with baking it. Was the pie cooled before adding the meringue? Was the meringue completely thickened? Did your oven thermometer display 200°F? If the temperature goes too much above 200°F, it will collapse, so an accurate temperature is important.

      1. Hi Kelly! Congrats, looks really awesome.

        Have you ever try with linen seeds gelly? g

  30. Hi there, I forward to trying this. I was thinking of pre making tart shells and then adding curd and then the meringue and using a blow torch instead of baking. Do you know if that’s been attempted?
    Thanks so much
    Vyk

    1. Yes, that should work just fine!

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