Introduction: Lemon Meltaway Pie--No Bake, Gluten Free, Vegan, and Amazing!
I recently came across the cookbook Chocolate Covered Katie: Over 80 Delicious Recipes That Are Secretly Good for You by Katie Higgins and was nothing but impressed, stunned even. Being chronically ill, I get energy from the food I consume, and I already know that sugars do very little to help get me moving, but you can probably tell from the majority of my Instructables, I do enjoy my desserts. Katie Higgin's cookbook truly does let you have your cake, brownies, pie, and eat them too. She's found a way to make almost everyone's favorite desserts vegan, low sugar, calorie friendly, and somewhat healthy, while still maintaining tremendous flavor. You can visit her blog Chocolate Covered Katie, which gets as many rave reviews as her cookbook.
The first time I read her recipe for this Lemon Meltaway Pie, it sounded so outlandish I had to try it! The main filling components are cashews and cauliflower, let me say that again, cashews and cauliflower! As most things lemon appeal to me, I figured there was enough juice called for that the flavor would stand out. This pie is no bake, low sugar, and took me less than an hour to make as the crust comes together in a food processor, and the filling in a high speed blender. It does require the easy advance prep of soaking the cashews 6 to 8 hours (I soaked mine overnight), and thawing frozen cauliflower (thawed in a bowl in my refrigerator overnight).
The crust is made of ground oats and coconut, a bit of brown sugar and salt bringing out both flavors for a nutty, crunchy crust that tastes like bits of a great granola. Using coconut oil in the crust and filling gives the pie a slightly tropical feel. I decided to add a topping of whipped coconut cream, further complimenting the existing coconut flavor. Using fresh lemon juice brings a welcome burst of flavor and almost cheesecake-like texture is obtained when the ingredients all come together and the pie is chilled.
As we (finally!) turn the corner from winter into spring this Pi(e) day, eating this pie is akin to sitting on a comfy beach chair, basking in the sunlight, looking out at the Caribbean. The best part might be that you can eat plenty of this pie and still look forward to bathing suit season as you watch the snow melt. And a special delight is reserved for whomever makes it, when they reveal the secret ingredients to this dreamy lemon pie! Happy Pi(e) day, enjoy!
Recipe adapted from, and reprinted with permission: Credit: Chocolate Covered Katie by Katie Higgins (Grand Central Life & Style; copyright 2015)
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
For the crust:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup melted coconut oil, or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
1 cup raw cashews or macadamia nuts, soaked (to prepare: cover nuts with water and soak for 6 to 8 hours, drain before using.)
2 cups loosely packed frozen cauliflower, thawed completely
1/3 cup melted virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4-6 tablespoons maple, or agave, syrup (I used Trader Joe's Maple Agave Syrup Blend)
1/4 teaspoon salt
For whipped coconut cream:
Half can of coconut cream, or full can of coconut milk, refrigerated overnight, liquid discarded
1/4 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar, more or less to taste
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Step 2: Prepare Crust
Grease a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick spray. Combine rolled oats, coconut, light brown sugar, and salt in a food processor; process until fine crumbs form, drizzle coconut oil over top, pulse until combined. Press dough into prepared pan in an even layer, pressing up along sides.
Freeze while preparing the filling.
Step 3: Prepare Filling
Drain nuts completely. Combine nuts and filling ingredients in a high powered blender, or food processor; process until completely smooth, adding liquid as needed until the filling is smooth (I started with 4 Tbsp. maple agave syrup, and needed to add 1 more Tbsp. plus 1 Tbsp. water to loosen the filling enough to easily rotate around the blades). Transfer filling to prepared pie crust and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.
(I have only tested this recipe using my high speed Vitamix, I can't be certain you'd achieve a smooth filling using anything less powerful.)
Step 4: Prepare Coconut Whipped Cream
If your kitchen is warm, I recommend freezing your bowl and whisk for 15 minutes before whipping to help the cream stay cold.
Spoon only the solidified coconut cream from the can into the mixing bowl, as I used Trader Joe's Coconut Cream which has little liquid, I only used half the can, which yielded enough for my family, you can use the full can if you love whipped cream.
Start whipping using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, hand beaters, or, if you're quick, a regular whisk, and increase the speed to medium, whisk for 30 seconds than add in vanilla extract and powdered sugar to taste. I find sugar brings out the coconut flavor, which complimented this pie, you don't have to add any, or you can use more. Increase the speed to medium high and whisk until cloud-like and fluffy, about two minutes. Again, whip to your preference, soft or firmer peaks. The whipped coconut cream will thicken as it chills, if you make it ahead, you may prefer to whisk again before serving. As you can see, I used the whipped coconut cream as decoration for Pi(e) day and saved the rest for people to serve themselves.
After freezing the pie 3 hours, I covered it with plastic wrap, and transferred the pie to my refrigerator, we enjoyed it the next day. If serving from frozen, I'd let it thaw about half an hour at room temperature so the filling is custardy again.
Spoon whipped coconut cream over pie before serving, delight in the reactions of your loved ones when you tell them this delicious lemon pie was made using cashews and cauliflower! Happy Pi(e) Day, enjoy!
Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to three days.