Aquafaba Lemon Meringue Pie
This is an epic pie. It takes a little time to make all the components and assemble, but the tangy filling and stunning toasted meringue on top is worth the effort. You can make the crust and the filling a day ahead and refrigerate, then whip up the meringue on the day of serving for a pie that is sure to impress.
- 1/2 cup unbleached flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 stick vegan margarine (not soft spread)
- Up to 1/2 cup ice water
- 1 15-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon agar powder
- 2 pinches turmeric or a few drops yellow food coloring
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 cup aquafaba
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup sugar, ground and divided (see Tips & Notes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Heat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the flours and salt, and whisk to combine. Using the large holes of a grater, grate the cold vegan margarine into the flour mixture, tossing to coat the shreds with flour. Work the margarine in just a little by squeezing the mixture with your fingers to break the shreds into smaller pieces, about the size of peas. Sprinkle in about 3 tablespoons of ice water, fluffing the mixture with a fork. Add water a tablespoon at a time, and start to gently turn and squeeze the dough as it forms. Once all the flour is moistened and the dough starts to hold together in a ball, flatten the dough ball to form a disk.
- Flour the counter and roll out the dough to fit in a 9-inch deep pie pan. Place the dough into the pie pan and flute the crust. Chill half an hour.
- Line the crust with foil and fill it with dry beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the weights and foil. Return the crust to the oven for 15 minutes more until the crust is fully baked, crisp, and golden. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- Pour the coconut milk into a 2-quart pot, and whisk over low heat to melt any lumps. When melted, whisk in the sugar, vanilla, agar powder and turmeric or yellow food coloring. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, then reduce to hold a gentle simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally, for 5 minutes, to melt the sugar and agar completely.
- In a cup, whisk the fresh lemon juice with the cornstarch. Slowly pour into the simmering pot, whisking until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Lower the heat and whisk for 1 minute more to thicken. Stir in the lemon zest. Scrape the filling into the cooled pie crust and place in the refrigerator to set.
- Preheat the broiler. Place a rack so that the top of the pie (it will be tall) will be about 3 inches from the heat. For the meringue, place the aquafaba, cream of tartar and 1/4 cup sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or a large bowl with an electric beater. Mix on low for a minute to combine well, then turn the speed to medium-high. Whip for 10 minutes, until the mixture is light and glossy. Gradually whip in the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, sprinkling the sugar very slowly over the surface of the mixture for at least a full second before adding the next tablespoon. The mixture will be billowy and shiny. Whip in the vanilla at the end, just to mix it in well.
- Dollop the meringue mixture over the lemon filling and spread it decoratively. Don't make very deep indentations in the meringue, as the broiler will not reach them to brown them. If you have a creme brulee torch, you can make any shapes you want and use the torch to brown everything evenly.
- To brown the meringue, place on the rack and leave the door open as you monitor the browning, turning the pie every few seconds. It will brown very quickly, so don't look away. As soon as it is golden and toasted, remove the pie from the oven.
- Refrigerate the pie to set the topping for at least an hour before slicing. Serve cold. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Tips & Notes
To prevent grittiness in meringue, it’s best to use sugar that’s more finely ground than standard granulated sugar. For a 3/4 cup yield measure out 3/4 cup plus an additional 2 teaspoons, to compensate for smaller granules. Grind the sugar for about 30 seconds in a blender, food processor or clean coffee grinder. Do not overgrind or you’ll end up with powdered sugar.
380 calories, 10 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 220 mg. sodium, 71 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. fiber, 2 g. protein