Project Just Desserts just doesn’t stop! Our second episode guest chef, Janet Hudson of Vegan Feast, liked seventh episode guest chef Bianca’s lemon pies and salted caramel ice cream so much, she made her own version the same day we published it! More gorgeous, tiny lemon pies!
I went ahead and made those pies—I seriously have a weakness for lemon and since we have a tree…. I used my curd recipe and Bianca’s pastry and baked them instead of frying. The ice kreme is basically the same but I swirled in my vegan caramel after and tightened everything up with a good chill.
Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef! Week seven: VEGAN Fried Lemon Pie and Salted Caramel Ice Cream! »
The first six episodes of Top Chef: Just Desserts have had clearly established winning dishes; not so episode seven. For the Restaurant/Sweet Shop War, the judges awarded an entire team of three the win, without clarifying which of the seven total desserts the team made was their favorite. This left your Vegansaurus in a quandary too: despite guest chef Bianca’s skills, asking her to make seven desserts in four days was ridiculous. So we made an executive decision, for the good of our readers and, really, humanity: we asked her to make Morgan Wilson’s fried lemon pies. Bianca, being totally awesome, not only created these beautiful little pies and the accompanying ice cream, but used one of the first recipes ever posted on Vegansaurus in her work. Extreme talent and flattery? Wherever it’s legal to marry ladies and pies, that’s where we’re going, with the pies and their maker, to live fattily ever after.
Fried pie with lemon curd and salted caramel ice cream
Yields 12 pies and about 3 cups ice cream
Salted Caramel Ice Cream (adapted from The Vegan Scoop)
1 cup soymilk, divided into ¼ cup and ¾ cup
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. soy margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups plain soy creamer
⅛ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whisk together ¼ cup of the soymilk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
Place the soy margarine, brown sugar, and one Tbsp. of the soymilk in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the margarine is melted and the brown sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining soymilk, soy creamer, and the salt. Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally.
Once the mixture is boiling, stir in the soymilk/cornstarch mixture. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. A film may form on the top, but just stir that in. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to instructions.
Vegan Lemon Curd (recipe by Melisser Elliot)
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from about 10 small lemons)
½ cup water
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
⅛ tsp.sea salt
Zest of 2 lemons, grated with a microplane grater
⅓ cup plain soy creamer
2 Tbsp. soy margarine
Combine the lemon juice, water, sugar, cornstarch, and sea salt in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and stir in the lemon zest. Heat on medium, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a full boil (about 10 to 15 minutes). Allow to boil for one minute undisturbed. The mixture will be thick and start to turn a little clear. Remove from heat.
Stir in the soy creamer and soy margarine. Whisk until margarine is melted and everything is fully combined. Allow the lemon curd to cool to room temperature in the saucepan. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp.sea salt
1 tsp.baking powder
⅓ cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. bourbon (I used Wild Turkey)
2 cups canola oil, for frying
2 Tbsp. sugar, for sprinkling over the cooked pies
Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
Cut in the shortening. Pour the water and bourbon into the dry mixture. Stir to combine. Lightly knead the dough to form a thick dough ball. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Separate the dough into 12 equal-sized balls. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll out one dough ball into a 5-inch circle.
Place one tablespoon of lemon curd in the center of the circle. Lightly spread it around, leaving plenty of room around the edges.
Fold half of the circle over and press edges to seal. Crimp the edges with a fork and transfer the pie to a plate. Repeat with the other 11 dough balls.
Cover the plate with plastic wrap and place the uncooked pies in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill.
To cook, heat 2 cups of canola oil in a large sauté pan with sides. Heat for about 10 minutes, or until the oil reaches 375 degrees—you can test the temperature with a metal candy thermometer.
When the oil is hot, place as many pies into the pan as will fit without touching each other. Fry for about 5 or 6 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Remove the pies from the hot oil using a metal slotted spoon. Allow to drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Sprinkle pies with sugar while they’re hot. Repeat with the rest of the pies. Serve with salted caramel ice cream.
Chef’s notes: The filling sort of stuck to the sides of the inside of the pies, so they look a little hollow, but when I bit into one, lemon filling squirted all over my face so it’s definitely there. I also found that once cooled to room temperature, the pies can be wrapped in waxed paper and kept for a couple of days.
Thanks, Bianca! These pies look AMAZING and you are the best! We are so impressed! Remember to let us know if you try out any of the recipes in our Project Just Desserts series! We would love to see your dishes. Come back Wednesday for the eighth episode preview!
Recipe: lemon curd! »
I love citrus desserts. More precisely, I love citrus flavors in both sweet and savory dishes, just more in sweet ones. Thus I am happy to share today this recipe for vegan lemon curd, tastiest of spreads, tart and sweet, gooey and delicious.
Laura had given me a great deal of Meyer lemons from the tree in her common backyard, and they needed using before they went bad. Why lemon curd? Because it requires a lot of lemons, which I had, and because the previous batch of lemon curd I’d made had been not at all what it should have, and I had something to prove.
This recipe—passed along to me from Friend of Vegansaurus Melisser—makes two cups; I doubled it, and will note the changes I made. Remember that I was using Meyer lemons, which are sweeter and milder than standard lemons.
1 cup fresh lemon juice [about 4 to 5 lemons per cup. Zest before you juice!]
½ cup water
1½ cups white sugar [doubled, I only needed about 2 cups]
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
⅛ tsp. salt
Zest of 2 lemons [the finer the better! Zest an extra lemon!]
⅓ cup plain, full-fat nondairy milk or creamer [I used a 50-50 mixture]
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance
Using a food processor/blender, combine lemon juice, water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. When the mixture is smooth, pour it into a saucepan and add lemon zest. Turn the heat under the saucepan to medium, and whisk until the mixture comes to a full boil, about 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to boil for one minute undisturbed; the mixture should have noticeably thickened and started to turn clear. Remove from heat.
Add milk or creamer and Earth Balance. Whisk until everything is fully combined. Allow the lemon curd to thicken and cool in the saucepan until it reaches room temperature, then pour it into the lidded containers in which it will live, and refrigerate; I used recycled glass jars.
Ridiculously easy! Especially if you can wrangle someone else into zesting and/or juicing the lemons for you. Plus, you can read (play iPhone games) while whisking. Besides, you already have most if not all of the ingredients at home, excepting perhaps the copious amount of lemons. Never fear, soon it will be citrus “season” (as though there are certain times of year that we can and cannot have different fruits and vegetables anymore, what a silly joke) and we will be awash in four-for-$1 lemons. Also limes. Perhaps a foray into lime curd is in order.
I had the curd on sourdough waffles the next morning. Then in the evening, I made this génoise cake and used the curd for the filling. It was not as magnificent as it looks, but it was still quite delicious. Lemon curd, such a versatile spread! you know you love it.
[photo by Joel]