This past weekend, the boyfriend and I decided to hit up a vegan potluck in Toronto. At a loss for what to make, I was originally going to make some spinach (vegan) cheese phyllo triangles. Unfortunately I didn’t plan far enough ahead (I’m a bit off of my kitchen game lately it seems), and discovered that I wouldn’t have enough time to make these little guys because I’d have to let the pastry thaw for at least 5-6 hours. I’ve worked with this stuff many times before, and the best way to work with it without the sheets ripping is to do the thaw properly, and not use a microwave (or oven) to attempt a quick thaw.
So in the middle of the grocery store in panic mode, I decided to make something else. Thinking of some simple and quick desserts I’ve made in the past, I settled on throwing together some chocolate peanut butter tarts. One more thing – pie tart shells… Were they vegan? I look at the puff pastry – it had butter… Damn. I broke out in a sweat, hoping I wouldn’t have to Betty Crocker the tart shells due to buttery ingredients… I checked the tart shells, and score! They used vegetable based oils in the ingredients instead of butter. Happy Nikki.
So I tossed a package of shells in my basket, grabbed some more key ingredients, and went home to get started.
Oh, you may want to know what ingredients I used in these… So here you go! These are super simple to put together, and look really cute!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Tarts
15 mini pie tart shells
Peanut Butter Mousse
½ cup silken tofu
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2-3 tbsp maple flavoured agave nectar (can sub. any liquid sweetener you like here, and this is purely to taste)
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3 squares unsweetened dark chocolate if using Baker’s chocolate. Otherwise, about ½ cup chopped dark chocolate of your choice
2 tbsp agave nectar
Bake the pie tart shells according to the package directions, and set aside to cool
Mix all ingredients for the peanut butter mousse in a food processor, and mix until combined. Allow to cool in the fridge while preparing the chocolate.
In a saucepan, melt the chocolate with the agave nectar. Once the chocolate is melted, spoon about 1 tsp of chocolate into each shell, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Take the peanut butter mousse out of the fridge, and put about 1 tbsp of mousse in each shell.
I’ve made these a few times now, and have enjoyed them each time. As the title says, these are mini lemon meringue pies with a macaroon crust. I find that the light taste of coconut really compliments the lemon curd used in this recipe.
For these little guys, I`ve found a way to make them just a bit healthier than the traditional lemon meringue pie. Taking away the traditional pie crust and replacing it with a tasty macaroon crust, removing egg yolks from the lemon curd recipe and increasing the amount of flavour with a few tweaks, and decreasing the amount of sugar in everything, allowed me to turn this into a dessert that`s a bit friendlier to those trying to eat healthy. Although, all treats should be enjoyed in moderation… But with these, it`s okay to have more than one… 😉
This recipe makes 8 minis. Enjoy! 🙂
Lemon Meringue Pie Minis with a Macaroon Crust
Macaroon Crust Cups Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (fine is best, but you can use larger flakes too)
1/4 cup sugar (I like to use turbinado sugar for this)
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white
Lemon Curd Ingredients:
1 cup fine white sugar (I usually try to avoid white sugar, but it just works really well for lemon curd…)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups cold water
2 tbsp corn starch (this is being used in place of the egg yolk)
grated rind from 1 large lemon
juice from 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 tbsp butter (again, I try to avoid butter at all costs… However, it gives the curd a bit of a creamy texture just by adding in the smallest amount. You can omit the butter if you wish!)
1/8 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites (room temperature)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (you may need a pinch more if you have troubles getting your meringue to stiff peaks!)
4-5 tbsp fine white sugar (less or more, judge by your own taste! Try to keep it under 6 tbsp though, otherwise you may have trouble with the egg whites…)
Pre heat the oven to 350.
***Make the macaroon crust cups:
Mix all macaroon ingredients in a bowl.
Divide the mixture evenly into 8 paper muffin cups (about 2 tbsp per cup)
Dip your thumbs in a bit of water, and press the mixture into the bottoms of the muffin cups, and a half way up the sides. Make sure the mixture is smooth.
Once you’ve done this with all of the cups, bake in the oven for 15 minutes. The edges should be golden brown.
Note: check the cups half way through. If they start to puff up in the middles, you will need to use a wet spoon to press the middles down.
Once done, remove from the oven, and set aside to cool while you make the lemon curd. Keep the oven on.
***Make the lemon curd:
In a sauce pan, combine the 1 cup of sugar with the 1/4 cup of corn starch.
Set the sauce pan over medium heat, and slowly add the water while whisking until everything is smooth and combined.
Whisk in the 2 tbsp of corn starch.
Continue to whisk over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. This may take 10-15 minutes. Just keep whisking!
Once you’ve reached a boil, continue to whisk and boil for about 1 minute. If you stop whisking, the mixture will burn. Once the mixture has become thick, you can remove it from the heat.
Add in the rest of the lemon curd ingredients, and stir until combined.
Spoon the lemon curd into the macaroon crust cups. (About 2 tbsp per cup. You will have curd left over, so if you like you can put it in a glass jar once it cools and use it for another recipe!)
Set the filled cups aside in the fridge to cool while you make the meringue.
***Make the meringue:
Put the egg whites into a clean bowl that has not come into contact with anything greasy. Grease/fat is an enemy of whipping egg whites into meringue.
Add the cream of tartar and vanilla extract, and using a hand mixer on a medium-high speed, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. When pulling the whisk away from the egg whites, soft peaks will pretty much look like a bird’s beak at first, but then the egg white falls back into itself. The egg whites won’t hold their shape fully, and won’t be that glossy. I also talk a bit more about meringue here, so check it out if you like!
Once the egg whites are at the soft peak stage, you can slowly add the sugar while whisking. Set the speed on the mixer to high now.
Continue to whisk until the egg whites are at stiff peaks. When pulling the whisk away from the egg whites, stiff peaks will maintain that “bird beak” shape. Also, when you hold the bowl upside down, the egg whites will stay where they are. (Although, you may not want to use that as a method to test what stage the egg whites are at…)
***Prepare the cups for baking:
Once the egg whites are at the stiff peak stage, remove the filled macaroon crust cups from the fridge, and top each cup with 2-3 tbsp of the meringue. What you want is a nice puffy “cloud” of meringue on top of each cup. Using a spoon, you can spread the meringue on each cup to make sure the meringue covers the whole top of each cup.
Sprinkle the tops of each cup with some flaked coconut, and bake in the middle rack of the oven (which is still at 350) for 10-15 minutes.
When they are done, the meringue will be lightly browned at the edges, the coconut flakes will be lightly browned, and when you touch the meringue it won’t stick to your finger.
Allow to cool completely before eating.
These can be stored in the fridge over night, but should be eaten within 2 days.
Here’s something a little interesting, and it’s (sort of) raw. I say “sort of”, because a few ingredients such as maple syrup and carob powder aren’t considered “raw” by everyone. There are “truly raw” carob powders available, however it’s not always guaranteed that the temperature was kept low enough during processing. Either way, if you eat raw foods, the carob powder and maple syrup can easily be substituted for more “raw friendly” items such as agave nectar and raw chocolate. (I’ve been interested in raw recipes in the past, and I was actually inspired recently to try out another raw recipe by an old highschool acquaintance, Elena. She’s got her own blog going on, and has some pretty cool recipes for raw food lovers!)
So here’s my tasty recipe for a coconut banana cream pie! This recipe makes 4 small servings. It’s a very rich and decadent pie that’s slightly higher in calories, so I suggest keeping the servings small. Enjoy! 🙂
Coconut Banana Cream Pie – Raw & Vegan
1/2 cup pitted honey dates, soaked for about 5 minutes.
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup walnut butter (home-made is best!)
1/4 cup carob powder (tastes similar to cocoa powder, but a little sweeter)
1 banana (I used a frozen banana, it may be a better idea to use one that’s not frozen though, as it causes the coconut butter to harden…)
1/2 cup coconut butter (to make: blend/process 1 cup flaked coconut for 5-10 minutes until a liquid forms. It may be slightly grainy still. Pour into a jar/cup, and allow to harden slightly for about 15 minutes. It will be creamy and smooth in texture. This does not need to be refrigerated.)
2 tbsp almond butter (again, home-made is best, but store-bought is alright too)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (real, not that artificial stuff!)
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp almond milk
4 tbsp coconut butter
1 tbsp carob powder
For the base, stir all ingredients together in a bowl until mixed well. Press into the bottom of a plastic wrap lined bowl, and freeze for 30-60 minutes.
For the filling: using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, mix all filling ingredients together. Pour the mixture on top of the semi-frozen base, and return to the freezer for another 20-30 minutes.
For the chocolate sauce: mix all ingredients together, and drizzle over the finished pie prior to serving!
To serve: Simply remove the pie from the bowl by pulling the plastic wrap carefully, and cut into four slices. Serve with chocolate sauce drizzled on top, and enjoy! 🙂 If the pie is too hard, allow to soften for a few minutes before serving.