Once a week I sit down to dinner with my four other flatmates. We take turns cooking but I always make dessert. This week my Chilean housemate challenge me to make the Peruvian version of a lemon meringue. I'm a sucker for a challenge and I love turning dairy heavy, sugar laced desserts into a vegan, processed sugar-free alternative. You can alter the recipe and make a classic lemon meringue pie by adding a raw or pastry base and leaving the port out of the meringue. I used VegeSet (carrageenan based) to set the curd, but I've seen other vegan recipes use corn starch, 1 TBSP should do the trick, and heating the mixture on a medium heat until thick before setting.
5 - 6 individual serves or 1 tart
for the lemon curd
300g of silken tofu
1 can of good quality coconut cream (left in the fridge overnight)
zest and juice of 3 lemons
zest of half an orange
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1 level tsp of VegeSet
pinch of salt
for the meringue
the brine drained from 1 can of chickpeas
pinch of salt
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 cup port or sweet red wine
1/2 cup of powdered sugar of your choice (I used xylitol)
1. Scoop out the solid layer of coconut cream (save the liquid for using in smoothies) from the tin and add to the blender. Add half the lemon juice with the remaining curd ingredients to the blender.
2. Blend for 5mins, allowing the mixture to warm.
3. Taste the mixture, if you prefer a tarter mixture add more lemon juice a couple of TBSPs at a time. If you prefer a sweeter mixture leave as is.
4. Re-blend for another 5 mins.
5. Allow the mixture to stand and slightly cool before decanting; you want the foam on top to settle. Poor into ramekins or serving dish and place in the freezer to set for 2 hours.
6. Half an hour before serving place the curd in the fridge and make your meringue.
7. Place the port and powdered sugar in a small pot and allow the sugar to melt on medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and reduce until syrupy (note: xylitol burns more easily than sugar so keep a close eye on it and use a lower temperature than usual).
8. Beat the chickpea brine in a large bowl with the salt and vanilla until soft peaks form.
9. Pour in the syrup and beat until the peaks start to stiffen. Dollop the meringue onto the curd or place into a pipping bag and pipe into your desired pattern.
10. If you have a food grade blow torch you have the option to scorch the top of your meringues.