This is coming a day late because I wanted to do a blog on food and I made this for friends who were coming over for dinner. By the time they left it was too late for blogging so I am doing two today, this is the one I owe for Saturday.
I’m experimenting a lot with ‘free-from’ baking at the moment. I’ve been dairy free for a while now and I have so many friends who are gluten free (it seems pretty prolific over here but perhaps it’s become fashionable in the UK since we left?). Whenever we talk about going out for treats or even just a nice coffee in a local cafe our biggest complaint is that there’s nothing interesting for those of us who have sensitive tummies. You might see a gluten free brownie or friand but there’s almost never anything for a dairy free girl like myself. I love a challenge and I love baking so I’m really enjoying trying to create cakes and bakes that are super tasty and naughty but also kind to the intolerant digestive system.
One of my favourite desserts is Lemon Meringue Pie and lemon curd is one of the best inventions in the history of the world. Of course butter traditionally plays a big role in curd so this was top of my list to conquer. I have been working on a gluten and dairy free lemon meringue slice, which uses gluten free flour in a soft biscuit base. It’s pretty much there and getting good reviews from gluten free friends. As our guests last night were fine with gluten I thought I’d only give myself the challenge of dairy free pastry. Predictably it wasn’t a total victory and I’ll need to revisit the recipe.
It was super tasty though so I thought I would share it, as if nothing else you get my dairy free lemon curd recipe – magic!
100g solid but soft coconut oil (I find if it’s cold it’s too crunchy to use)
225g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp caster sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/4 cup of cold water
4 egg yolks
1 cup of caster sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
zest and juice of four lemons
five egg whites (you’ll have these left over from the pastry and curd)
1 cup caster sugar
First get on with the curd so it’s ready to add later.
Whisk the whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth. Place the pan over a low heat. Add the coconut oil, zest and lemon juice. Whisk continually until thickened – about 10 minutes for me. Take off the heat and strain through a sieve to get rid of the lemon rind. If keeping as curd put in a sterilised jar and it’ll keep well in the fridge for about 7-10 days. If you’re using for the pie then just put it in a bowl and put to one side.
Whilst the curd is being whisked over the heat, I start making the pastry.
Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl. Then rub in the coconut oil until you have soft crumbs. Add the egg yolk and rub it in so it starts to resemble pastry dough. Add the water until you can make a ball. This is where I think the coconut oil wasn’t ideal and I need to experiment a little more with quantities etc as it stayed pretty crumbly. Put it in the fridge for 30 mins. Take it out and you should be able to roll it out so you can line a 23cm fluted loose-bottomed tin. It wouldn’t roll out in one piece so I made the best of it. It wasn’t pretty but you’re going to cover it with lemon curd anyway!
Bake blind in a 190C oven for about 12 minutes – until you can see the pastry going golden around the edges. I actually baked for 10 minutes but it had a bit of a soggy bottom so I think a couple more minutes would have sorted that…maybe?
Once it’s cooled a little, add in the curd.
Whisk your egg whites and as they thicken up, gradually add the sugar. Whisk until you get firm peaks. Lay it over the top of the curd and swirl it around to look pretty. If I had the skills I would pipe but I don’t…yet.
Bake until the top of the meringue is golden. I think I went a little too dark and then because it was a hot, humid day it didn’t cool crispy on top. The meringue was lovely but it had a soft, brown top – not what I hoped for.
It tasted amazing, the curd was perfection but the bottom and top were both lacking crispiness. We all enjoyed generous slices and one of our guests went back for seconds.
I’m going to give this lemon meringue pie a 6/10 as it tasted fab, looked the part but there’s definitely room for improvement in the baking quality.
Back to the research lab!