Vegan lemon meringue pies

Vegan lemon meringue pies

vegan lemon meringue pie cross section

It’s only mid-February and where I come from this is still the middle of winter, but here, in Greece, the spring appears to have moved in! We took some time off work the other day as we woke up to a beautifully sunny (that’s actually not that rare here) and super warm 25° C (77° F) day and we felt like we’ve time travelled. Everything was in full bloom, our cat started chasing after bees and butterflies in our garden and it seemed like the storm and ferocious winds of just two days earlier were all a figment of our imagination.

We are cautious about celebrating spring’s arrival too soon as Greek islands tend to get a few summer days thrown in the middle of winter on a yearly basis (a weather phenomenon called Halycon Days) so the cold and storms may still return…but I’m hoping to fend it off for good with this spring-inspired dessert.

All this sunshine, butterflies and warm weather got me craving a spring-like dessert. Something light, fresh and big enough to satisfy my sweet tooth yet small enough to make my moment of weakness feel innocuous. After a few experiments, I decided on mini vegan lemon meringue pies.

The combination of sour lemon curd, sweet meringue and crumbly pastry is to die for. No wonder that this classic French combination has become such a hit all over the world. If, like me, you have a weakness for miniatures, you’ll love this dessert as it’s damn cute! It would also make a great addition to an afternoon tea party (although I’m in the espresso party camp myself 🙂 ). Give it a go, if you can make a pie crust, you can make these pies with your eyes closed.

vegan lemon meringue pie decorating

vegan lemon meringue pies duo

vegan lemon meringue pie and espresso

vegan mini lemon meringue pies

vegan lemon meringue pie top down

makes
10
PREP
45 min
COOKING
30 min
makes
10
PREPARATION
45 min
COOKING
30 min
INGREDIENTS

PASTRY CASES

  • 180 g white all-purpose flour, sifted
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 60 ml / 4 tbsp olive oil

LEMON CURD

  • 80 g / just over ½ cup cashews (soak in water overnight)
  • 150 ml / ½ cup + 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp / 75 ml maple syrup or sugar to taste
  • 2 level tsp cornflour / cornstarch
  • pinch of turmeric (for colour, optional)

MERINGUE

  • ½ cup / 120 ml aquafaba / chickpea water*
  • 125 g / ½ cup + 2 tbsp fine caster sugar
  • ½ tsp white wine vinegar (optional)
METHOD

PASTRY CASES

  1. Combine sifted flour and icing sugar in a large bowl. Add olive oil and rub it into the dry ingredients with your hands. Finally, add water – be careful, do it gradually – how much water you’ll need depends on how absorbent your flour is. Combine all the ingredients into a dough gently, but do not knead. Wrap it in a piece of cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into 10 portions. Roll each portion out between two sheets of baking paper until you get a rough circle, about 2 mm in thickness. Place the rolled-out dough over the ramekin and gently line the inside of the ramekin with it. Trim the excess pastry with a sharp knife. Pierce the bottom of the ramekin with a fork a few times and put the first ramekin into the fridge. Repeat with the remaining ramekins / moulds.
  3. Chill all the pastry-lined ramekins in the fridge for about 60 mins.
  4. 45 min into pastry chilling time, preheat the oven to 175° C / 350° F. Line the pastry cases with pieces of baking paper and fill with baking beads or rice.
  5. Blind bake the pastry for 20 mins, then remove the beads and bake for another 15 mins. Cool pastry cases down completely before filling them.

LEMON CURD

  1. Rinse soaked cashews and place them in a blender with 150 ml of lemon juice and maple syrup if using. Blitz several times until you get a completely smooth liquid.
  2. Pour cashew and lemon mixture into a small pot. Warm the mixture up gently stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. If using sugar instead of maple syrup, add about 4 tablespoons of sugar into the pot and allow it to melt in. Taste the mixture and add more sugar if necessary – remember that you’ll probably want your curd to retain some tang to contrast with the sweet meringue nicely.
  3. Mix 2 tsp of cornflour with 1 tbsp of water in a small bowl and add this mixture to the warm lemon curd mixture. Bring the mixture to the boil gently (stirring the whole time) and allow it to bubble for two minutes to let it thicken (the mixture will thicken further as it cools).
  4. Finally, add a pinch or two of turmeric to the warm mixture to give the curd a pale yellow colour. Be very careful as I found that even as little as ¼ tsp will overpower the mixture! You can also skip this step if don’t have turmeric or don’t like it.

MERINGUE (whip it just before you are ready to assemble the pies)

  1. In a large, clean bowl (make sure there is no greasy residue, it is best to use a glass bowl for this) beat chickpea water with an electric whisk or use a stand mixer until you get stiff peaks. You may want to add ½ tsp of vinegar to speed things up although I have been able to get stiff peaks without it too.
  2. To test if whipped chickpea water is ready, gently turn the bowl upside down. If the mixture does not start sliding down, you can start adding sugar. Otherwise, keep on whipping until the mixture stays in the bowl when inverted.
  3. Add sugar gradually, tablespoon by tablespoon, whipping well after each addition. By the time you’ve used up all your sugar the mixture should turn beautifully sticky and glossy – no different to an egg-based meringue, really.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Fill cool pastry cases with a generous amount of (cooled) lemon curd.
  2. Pipe meringue on top using a piping bag or a clean ziplock (again needs to be completely grease-free) bag with a cut-off corner.
  3. Toast the meringue under a hot oven grill. It will only take about 2 minutes but watch the pies like a hawk as they can go from light brown to burnt in seconds. They may also need rotating after a minute if your oven burns a bit hotter at the back, like mine does. Alternatively you can use a blow torch if you own one.
  4. Let meringue pies stand for at least an hour after toasting the meringue so that it stabilises. Consume on the day – I had some of mine the next day and they were still nice but definitely nicer on the day they were made.

NOTES
*Aquafaba (AF) or bean brine is leftover cooking water from cooking most legumes. I use chickpea water and have not tried using any other type yet. You can get it from a can of low sodium chickpeas or make your own. I recommend the latter as that way you can simply not add any salt. When making your aquafaba, soak dry chickpeas in lots of water overnight, rinse and put in a large pot with lots of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 1 hour (until beans are soft). Remove cooked chickpeas with a slotted spoon and what’s left in your pot is aquafaba. If it is too runny (ideally it should resemble egg whites), you can concentrate it a bit by simmering it on a low heat (without a lid) until it reaches the desired consistency. Cool it down before using – I refrigerate my AF for a day before whipping up my meringues.

I used mini ramekins of the following dimensions: diameter of 5.5 cm / 2 in and height 2.5 cm / 1 in.

My recipe for lemon curd has been adapted from this recipe.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
244
12%
sugars
20 g
22%
fats
10 g
14%
saturates
2 g
8%
proteins
3 g
6%
carbs
38 g
14%
*per pie
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4.9
10 reviews, 55 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Debbie:
I made 1/2 a recipe a couple of weeks ago, and did it as a small pie, in a 6" ramekin. This was a good amount for 2 very hungry people, or could have done for 3 or even 4 people with more modest appetites. We both loved it, and I am making it again tomorrow for his birthday, at his request!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Debbie! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it and thanks so much for taking the time to let me know! Ania
Chloe:
Hi Ania! (it won't let me reply to your message so I'm just leaving a while new comment!)
Thank you so much for the tip! I will definitely have to try again using your other vegan meringue recipe :)
Also I forgot to mention that I also subbed in sunflower seeds for the cashew nuts as a nut free option and it worked great!
Thanks again, Chloe x
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hope it works out perfectly next time, Chloe. I do have a full size lemon meringue pie on my to-do recipe list, but haven't got round to it as the list is long ;) . Great to hear! Yes, they can be used pretty interchangeably, which is great news for nut allergy sufferers and they are cheaper too. x Ania
Chloe:
I made one big pie using this recipe- I was so excited about this when I put it in the oven as the curd was delicious and the meringue looked really thick, smooth and glossy .
Unfortunately when it came to cutting the pie the meringue seemed to have reverted back to very liquidy foam :(((
I'm not sure why, as I whipped the aquafaba for a good 15 minutes and let the pie sit for a few hours before slicing. The only thing I did differently to the recipe was leave it in the oven to brown for about 10 mins rather than 2 - could this have ruined it?
Thanks so much for the amazing curd recipe though - I subbed in limes for a delicious result! x
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Chloe,
    I'm sorry to hear that. I assume you used caster sugar, as I know that sugar type matters here and the amount stated in here recipe? It's hard for me to say why this happened but my feeling is that the meringue would benefit from some sort of stabiliser like xanthan gum, cornstarch, tapioca starch when used to cover a large area. I used cornstarch in this recipe and it worked well. Hope you'll try again and it will be a complete success. x Ania
Emília:
Hi, thanks for this wonderfull recipe! I would like to know when you say cashews, do you refer to the fruit or the nut?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Emília,
    You are welcome. I mean cashews nuts, raw (unroasted). Hope this helps! Ania
Rachel:
I love making your recipes! I don’t really want to buy ramekins, do you have suggestions to use this recipe for a regular 9 inch pie pan?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Rachel,
    Thank you, I am really pleased to hear that. Yes, I am pretty sure it would work, but you need to make some calculations to ensure that you have enough filling. I used 10 x 5.5 cm / 2 in ramekins which had the height of 2.5 cm / 1. in. As for the pastry bit, you might be better off using one of my later recipes, like this 9" pie for example: https://www.lazycatkitchen.com/vegan-pumpkin-pie/ Hope that helps! Ania
Heidi:
Just made these! Unfortunately the pastry was very hard so will have to modify next time. Curd and meringue came out perfectly though, the curd needed to be cooked a lot longer in order to thicken as I used coconut cream rather than cashews. I also added lemon rind to give it a nice bright yellow colour instead of turmeric. Thanks so much for the recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    You're welcome, Heidi!
Amanda:
Made this today for my mum's birthday. Changed the recipe into a full sized pie and made 1,5 times the dough and 2 times the lemon filling. Tasted great! The merengue came out wonderful, didn't deflate when burning it and the lemon filling was nice, though it did taste slightly of cashews. The only thing I had trouble with was the dough. It came out quite crumbly since I wasn't sure of how much water to add. Thanks for the recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Amanda! Great changes! I'm delighted to hear you enjoyed this dessert! x Ania
Cat:
Hi Ania
I made these for a family birthday and they blew our minds! Thank you so much for the recipe. These are so special that I will do them for Christmas and special occasions. I usually make your black forest mousses but now they have competition! You are a culinary genius. Xxxx
    Ania
    Ania:
    haahaha, hardly, but thanks so much, Cat! I am delighted to hear that! Ania
Cara:
Do you think these would work okay in muffin tins?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, I do think so! Ania
Adele:
Would making the pastry in a food processor work?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Adele,
    I have not tried myself but I know that some people do so it's worth giving it a try. Ania
Sassy:
Hi Anita, I’m used to making vegan meringue with egg replacer and this was my first go using aquafaba. I actually struggled to find chickpeas with no salt, I looked in several supermarkets. When I finally found some they were also organic (which is always a good thing right). However they were actually in VERY little water/juice so ended up using some of the only other kind I had which did have salt. The finished meringue had a peculiar flavor (in my opinion), almost ‘nutty’ and I wonder if that was from the salt? I added vanilla and a lot more sugar to kinda disguise the flavor. Wow, what a lot of meringue that one cup of aquafaba makes! I made a whole 9” pie and will make lots of cookies with it too.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Sassy,
    I'm glad it worked out well in the end. Yes, aquafaba is really efficient, isn't it? As for the flavour, I'll be honest with you - I am not sure. I always make my own aquafaba as we eat a lot of chickpeas and I have not detected any funkiness ever. I also fed quite a few aquafaba desserts to my non-vegan friends and no one had any issues with the taste so perhaps is it is some additive/stabiliser they add to the tinned version? Now that you have successfully made a meringue, I highly recommend making aquafaba at home and seeing if the taste is still there. It's so easy, cost-effective and I would risk a statement that it's a bit healthier as you don't get any metal residue - although these days, it is really hard to know what is in your food, isn't it? Any questions, shout. x Ania
Kara Western:
The taste of this lemon meringue was AMAZING. I kept the ingredients as is and was able to make one big pie, although it wasn't very deep. Unfortunately, my meringue didn't firm up and it turned into a liquid mess when slicing. Overall the taste was incredible, but something went wrong with the meringue, so texture was off.
Any ideas on where it could have gone wrong? I whipped up the aquafaba until stiff, then started adding in the sugar slowly. I had to whip it for a good while as my machine isn't very powerful, but I thought it seemed pretty firm at the end. It would hold stiff peaks. I put it in the oven 2-3 mins until brown, then let cool on the counter for 1hr, then in the fridge 30min. I've never made traditional egg meringues, so I'm not sure what to compare it to. My French husband said it looked stiff and ready to be baked, but he was surprised that it was only for 2-3 mins. Maybe more cooking time? Maybe not whipped enough? Hmmm...
Thanks for this recipe. I'll definitely be trying it again! Fingers crossed.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Kara,
    I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed these overall although I am sorry to hear that the meringue did not work as well as you have hoped. This is designed to be a set meringue topping as opposed to dried out / baked, which is why I grill (or you could also just a chef's torch) as opposed to bake it. This is possibly where the confusion lies as you mention baking it for a long time (presumably at a very low temp), which would result in a different (crunchy) texture. Ania
Mel:
Hi Ania,
I made these recently and LOVED them, they were a huge hit. I've been dying for lemon meringue pies ever since I went vegan and i'm so happy to have them back in my life.
I started prepping to make another batch - only problem is my brother accidentally threw out my aquafaba! Might seem a silly question, but do you think I could freeze the lemon curd for use at a later date? I've got cashews soaking that are just going to go to waste otherwise.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Mel,
    I'm delighted to hear that these went down well with you. Your brother did WHAT??!! Thrown aquafaba away? that's criminal in my view... ;) Yes, of course, freezing the curd is totally fine. Good luck with your next batch! Ania
Fanni:
Hi Ania,
Love these! Have you ever tried using any kind of sugar substitute in your aquafaba meringue? I'm vegan and sugar free, so I would love to have a sugarfree meringue, if it is possible.
Thanks,
Fanni
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Fanni,
    Thank you, I'm pleased to hear that. I haven't, I'm afraid and I am not sure this is possible as sugar doesn't just provide sweetness here, but also gives structure to aquafaba. I think I've heard of some success with maple syrup, but I haven't tried myself unfortunately. Ania
anh naruto dep nhat:
This recipe is amazing. I’ve never made a lemon meringue pie I was happy with and since going vegan 5 years ago I had written it off. But it is my hubby’s favourite. I made it yesterday within an hour start to finish and it looks fantastic and professional and the taste is unbelievably light and fluffy. Very impressive! Thank you.
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's so great to hear :) Thank you for taking the time to leave such a nice comment! Ania
maya:
Wow, this recipe looks amazing! i'm really looking forward to make it. I just have one question, what temperature should the oven to be the second time we bake the pie? (after adding the meringue ).
Thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Maya! To torch the meringue, I simply used the grill function in my oven just for a few minutes. I have a rubbish oven and I don't think the grill function has variable temperature but yours does, I think 175° C / 350° F is a safe bet. Hope that helps! Ania
      maya:
      that really helps, thank you!
Ethaar:
Hi Ania. I very much look forward to trying this out ;). Any idea if i can use agave Syrup instead of maple for the lemon curd? Many thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Ethaar! I'm pretty sure it will! Hope you will like these! Ania
Lisa:
Could you make one large pie if you don't own ramekins?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lisa,
    Yes, sure you can, you just need to calculate the surface area of your pie dish to make sure you have enough mixture to fill it (the dimensions of my ramekins are at the bottom of the recipe). Good luck!
      Lisa:
      Great, thank you very much. Will try tomorrow night!
        Ania
        Ania:
        Glad to hear that, Lisa :) Hope it'll work out well! Ania
Marina:
Hey Ania, tomorrow i'am making this fabulous sweet. I would like to ask
could i use the amount of lemon curd and meringue for a whole tart (instead of mini cupcakes)
Thanx!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Marina,
    Sure you can but you'll need to calculate surface area of your tart case and compare it to my 10 mini tarts (dimensions are under the recipe). Good luck and let me know how it went! :)
Indigo S.V.K:
Hi! I have a corn allergy and I substituted cornflour for a little bit of oat flour and xanthan gum powder. My lemon curd came out very yummy, but smelled a bit like play dough. I was wondering if the corn flour has a very important roll in the curd and maybe I should try potato starch.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi,
    Yes, cornstarch / cornflour is a great thickening agent and it is rather crucial in this recipe. I have not tried subbing it for anything else, but conventional wisdom says that you could replace it with tapioca starch, potato starch or arrowroot powder so it's definitely worth a shot. A small amount of vegan gelatin - agar agar should work too. Good luck and hope it works out next time.
    Ania
petra:
Hello, I have a question about this recipe. I've never worked with aquafaba. Does it get crispy as normal meringue?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Petra,
    If you make it in the form of meringues, yes it totally does - crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. In this application, however, because it only gets a few minutes under the grill, the top simply gets a little char on it. To get it crunchy it would have to be in the low oven for a long time, something you could try, but it may affect the cooked cake underneath.
    Hope that helps,
    Ania
Karou:
Hi, I want to make this curd but I was wondering if I had to use raw cashews because I can only find them toasted?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Karou,
    Yes, the recipe calls for raw cashews. You can try with toasted ones but I worry that it may change the flavour a little. Raw cashews are very neutral in taste whereas toasted ones not as much.
Lucy:
Hello,
Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Do you think it is possible to use this recipe for a whole pie instead of little ones? Also, do you think this pie would freeze well?
Thank you.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lucy,
    My pleasure! I am certain that you could easily make a large pie instead of a few little ones, I just like little desserts:) I'm not sure about freezing though as I have not tried it. My gut feeling tells me that it may not taste as nice once thawed.
    Ania
Michaela Lefakis:
I made them today. they are fantastic!!!!! no one understood a difference to the "normal" ones. very very nice
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay!!! So pleased to hear that! Biggest compliment ever, thank you! x
Peggie:
These look awesome!!! How would I make them gluten free? Thank you!!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Peggie!:) I haven't tried making gluten-free pasty yet (I am planning to try at some point), but I reckon a crust made of blended (soaked) dates, any nuts you like and a pinch of salt could work well too.
Tracey Dengate:
Hi
The lemon meringue looks great!
I'm struggling with an alternative to nuts though. (Can't tolerate any, even the smell).
Can I use anything else?
Thank you 😀
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Tracey,
    Thank you, glad to hear that you like this recipe. As for nut substitution, in this context nuts are a source of fat so my (quite confident) guess is that you could replace them with coconut cream (fatty part of full fat coconut milk) and/or vegan butter. I actually wanted to use vegan butter but I cannot get it where I live. Olive oil could work too, I think! As there is no need to blend things if you are not using cashews, I would add small amounts of fat (coconut cream/vegan butter or olive oil) directly to the pan with lemon juice and maple syrup and test as you go along to gauge the exact quantity needed.
    Hope that helps and please let me know how you got on!
    Ania
Dee:
I'll be making these babies soon and will post pics!!!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Awesome! I'm looking forward to seeing them:)
Lilit:
This must be very tasty!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Lilit, there is only one way to find out;)!
Krystle:
This looks so yummy, and the meringue makes them look so fancy! Pinned!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Krystle! Hope you'll make them :)
Lindsey:
Cornflour = cornstarch?
Am looking forward to making. :)
Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lindsey, yes, it is, I'll update the recipe to include US name too. Hope you'll like these!
Karen:
These look amazing! I will be trying these out very soon :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Karen, I would love to know what you think!
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