Pi Day: Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie

lemon-meringue-pie

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

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. Actually, 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. 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. 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

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes 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
*Grind granulated sugar in a food processor so it’s somewhere between granulated and powdered sugar.

Instructions

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and cut in oil until dough resembles pebbles. Add water/vinegar and vodka and mix until completely incorporated. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and transfer to a greased pie tin. Crimp the edges (this is a good resource for pie crust). Poke holes in the bottom of the pan with a fork. Bake for 25 minutes or until just starting to turn golden. The pie will be baked again after the meringue step. Let cool.

For the lemon filling: Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk constantly for 5 minutes until the filling is the consistency of pudding. Pour into the baked pie crust.

For the meringue: 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!). Add the cream of tartar. Whip the bean juice with the whisk attachment until it starts to thicken. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping. 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. A spoonful of meringue at the proper consistency will not drip if you hold it upside down.

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

To assemble: Preheat oven to 200°F. Pipe dollops of meringue on top of the pie. 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. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, letting the meringue set.

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

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

Happy Pi Day!

Infused Vodka Recipes

infused-vodka

Step away from the flavored liquor on store shelves! Can you chop fresh fruit and vegetables? Can you open packages of herbs and spices? Can you buy alcohol? (Sorry, kids.) Then you can make your own pomegranate, jalapeño, chocolate, plum, or other crazy-flavored liquor! And mix flavors that the store-bought stuff* hasn’t seen! Your concoctions are bound to be fresher, and probably cheaper.

I almost feel silly posting a “recipe” for infused vodka because you can infuse practically anything in any amount in the liquor of your choice. And in mere days, sometimes hours! Saving the dark liquors** for the winter months, I chose vodka and bright, summer flavors for this batch. With dried flowers, and cucumbers fresh out of the garden, I whipped up two variations in small batches.

*It can probably be done with vanilla beans, cacao nibs, and some other mystery ingredients, but maybe you should stick to store-bought cake and whipped cream vodkas, if that’s your thing.

**Sorry, Ron Swanson.

cucumbers

Cucumber Vodka

I tasted store-bought cucumber vodka last summer, and let me tell you, this homemade version is 10x fresher and more delicious!

  1. Use 1 large cucumber for 750 ml vodka, or one standard-sized bottle. I made about half that amount here.
  2. Peel the cucumber and scoop out its seeds. The peel will add a bitter flavor.
  3. Chop up your cucumber and add it to the vodka. Let sit for 2 days to 2 weeks in a cool, dry place.
  4. Remove the cucumber pieces, discard, and use the flavored vodka however you wish!

homemade-cucumber-vodka

I’ve been drinking the cucumber vodka with ginger ale and club soda, but it is also great in a flavorful mixed drink, like this cucumber mojito.

Cucumber Mojito

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

10 fresh mint leaves
3 wedges lime
4 cucumber slices
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup ice cubes
1/2 oz cucumber vodka
4 oz club soda

Instructions

  1. Muddle the mint leaves, limes, and cucumber slices with the sugar to release the juices and oils.
  2. Top with ice cubes.
  3. Add the vodka and club soda, and stir.
  4. Garnish with cucumber and lime slices.

cucumber-mojito

Hibiscus Rose Vodka

Hibiscus, or Jamaica flowers, is one of the main flavors of Agua de Jamaica, a ruby red tea made with dried hibiscus flowers and fresh lime. Infusing vodka with hibiscus is a quick process, and the resulting liquor tastes amazing with lime. Absolut makes a similar flavor called Absolut Hibiskus & Pomegranate. If you’d like to replicate that, feel free to add some crushed pomegranate seeds and juice!

  1. Use 1 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers per 1 cup vodka. I replaced some of that with dried rose buds for a floral flavor that goes nicely with the tart, delicate flavor of hibiscus.
  2. Add to vodka and let sit for 3-4 hours. The vodka will become bright pink within minutes. If the flowers steep for longer than a few hours, the vodka will become bitter. Remove the flowers and discard.
  3. Use the flavored vodka however you wish!

hibiscus-vodka

I made this drink to accompany the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars.” Because I watch shows made for teenagers, whatever. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a murder mystery that follows a group of four high school girls with a stalker called “A” who threatens to reveal their OMG huge secrets. So instead of going to an adult, they get hit by cars, date their English teachers, tell lots of lies, and open 800 plot lines that never get resolved in 5 seasons. There’s creepy dolls, high drama, and lots of gasping. It’s deliciously terrible/wonderful. Just like this hot pink drink, which is more showy than substantial, and filled with secret alcohol you’ll never taste.

Ginger Lime Hibiscus Cocktail

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

8 oz ginger ale
1 1/2 oz hibiscus vodka
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 oz lime simple syrup
1/2 oz Grand Marnier

Instructions

  1. You can shake or stir this drink. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, or a cup of ice.
  2. Pour into a glass (chilled or frozen is best) and garnish with lime or orange slices, and cocktail umbrellas. The more over the top, the better.

girly-drink

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Welcome to the new SBYM!

A divinely imaginative vegan food and photography blog, recipe collection, and book and zine store.

It’s always somewhat nerve-wrecking to release a brand new project into the wild, and I’m eager to start posting content, so I’ll keep this short and sweet:

My name is Kelly Peloza and I’m a vegan cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. If you want to learn more and see pics of cute animals, check out my about page. I began writing a vegan cookie cookbook and an accompanying blog in 2007, and I’ve been blogging at The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur ever since. Until now (check your speakers).

In May 2013, I graduated from college and attended Vida Vegan Con. The former made my general enthusiasm for daily life go from here (I’m pointing at the ground) to here (I’m reaching above my head), and both of these events got me incredibly inspired for new projects. With the time constraints of student life no longer an issue, and the subject matter limitations of a blog called The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, I wanted to put consistent time and energy into something brand new. And here we are! The cookie blog archives will still be available and I’ll post details if and when they relocate. But no worries, here you’ll find every feature of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, and more.

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