Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lemon Cream Pie and Other Stories

I can't quite remember which year I started this, but it's a tradition for Thanksgiving to have 3 pies, now. I always make the Sm'love pie every year because everyone always asks about it and then proceeds to get this blissed look on their faces while eating it. Who am I to deprive people of their chocolatey Thanksgiving goodness? I try and shake it up a bit with the other two, though. I like to do one fruit pie of some type and the other can be whatever I feel like making at the time.

All that was left of the Lemon Cream Pie at the end of the night

How can you not love the Sm'love Pie?

I've made my award-winning Hazelnut Apple Cider Pie two years in a row because it was requested this year. That's kind of awesome, actually. I couldn't find any pink lady apples so I had to make do with Granny Smith apples instead. It was still great, I just prefer the pink ladies for my pies. They have such a great combination of sweet and tart and crisp.

I actually ended up having to send James to the store at the last minute to get more apples for me. I wasn't paying attention when I was simmering the apples in the cider and all of a sudden I had applesauce. Well, not all of a sudden, more like 20 minutes too long while I sat on the couch checking my email with one of the cats in my lap. What a bummer. Now I have to find things to eat applesauce with for the next few weeks to use it up. I put it all in jars and then realized that I didn't add any lemon juice so it won't be shelf-stable. Dang it.

The remnants of the Hazelnut Apple Cider Pie

For the third pie, I wanted to do a lemon cream pie. I got inspired by the Coconut Cream Topping that Vegan Dad made.  For some reason I was thinking the coconut cream would get super fluffy and it didn't really. It wasn't runny or anything, though. I think next time I might try adding a bit of arrowroot or cornstarch or something and beating it for a long time to see if I can get it any stiffer. Experimenting can be delicious! Also, I know that sometimes when you buy cans of coconut milk it's separated into milk and cream in the can, but mine wasn't like that this time so I just chucked it all at the beginning of the recipe and it seemed to turn out fine. So if you make this and have that same thing happen, don't worry, it's all good.

I used to love my Grandma's lemon meringue pie when I was a kid; though I remember loving the lemon part way more than the meringue. I'm going to have to do a bit more experimenting to get the lemon part of the pie a bit more like Grandma's was but this was still quite good. I got the recipe from the Fat Free Vegan Blog. I noticed that a few people commented that the recipe was too sweet as is and I generally like things less sweet than most people so I heeded their warning and reduced the sugar a bit. I ran some lemons through the juicer for fresh juice and I think that really made quite the difference, too. Oh, did I mention that there's no baking at all involved in making this pie? Just heating up some stuff on the stove and then refrigerating!

I only have two large pie dishes so I ended up using a springform pan for my lemon cream pie. You can use whichever you like, but the pie dish is probably best if you expect to have leftovers.

It looks so cute just out of the springform pan, but I still think a pie plate would be best.

Copied and Pasted, here is the recipe for the lemon cream pie:

Make whatever kind of pie crust you like. I just used a graham cracker crust. Just get some graham cracker crumbs (about 1 3/4 cup) and add a few tablespoons of canola or coconut oil. Mix with a fork until the graham cracker crumbs are all moist and hold together. Add more oil one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition if you find your crumbs are still too dry.

Lemon Pie Filling (reposted from the Fat Free Vegan Blog)

1 1/2 cups sugar (I only used 1 cup)
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup non-dairy milk
3/4 cup lemon juice
grated rind of 2 lemons (about 2 Tbsp.)

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Stir in water and soymilk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and slowly add the lemon juice and grated rind.

Pour into a pie crust and chill for a couple of hours until set.

Coconut Cream Topping (reposted from the Vegan Dad blog)

1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon agar flakes or 1 teaspoon agar powder
3 tablespoons sugar (I ended up using 6 tablespoons of sugar total to get it sweet enough)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Separate coconut cream from coconut milk and add the milk (i.e. the watery stuff) to a small saucepan. Sprinkle afar flakes over and let sit for 5 mins.  Add sugar and bring to bubbling over med hi heat, whisking constantly.  Cook for 3-5 mins, or until all the agar has dissolved.

Remove from heat and whisk in cream and vanilla.  Adjust sugar to taste then pour into a bowl, cover, and place into the fridge.  Allow to fully cool.

When ready to use, whisk the cooled mixture and spread over your pie.  Place pie back into the fridge until ready to serve.


  1. i love your tradition of making 3 pies. and these are mouth watering pies! ive always wanted to try out a SMlove pie.

  2. Oh my, so much pie-goodness! Thanksgiving at your place would be awesome!

  3. Oh my pie! I wish I could have sampled all of these. Everything looks absolutely amazing. Yum!

  4. Thanks for posting the recipes. It's so cool you beat all the non-vegan pies in the contest. I'd like to link to the recipe from the Cake Liberation Front facebook site.

  5. That Lemon Cream Pie looks heavenly!

  6. All those pies look like heaven! Have you tried Healthy Top as a topping for your lemon pie? There's a local health food store here in Ottawa that makes a lemon meringue and uses it as the topping and it works for me as a former lemon meringue lover!

  7. I've actually never seen Healthy Top, but I'll have a look for it the next time I'm at Karmavore. I think that's the only place around here that might have it.

  8. Where is the recipe for the "Sm'love Pie"?

  9. You can find the Sm'love Pie recipe in Veganomicon.

  10. Vegan Radhika SarohiaSaturday, February 09, 2013

    These pies look amazing! Esp the lemon one:)

  11. Just made the lemon pie.. to die for. I also cut the sugar in the lemon part and its perfect. I added a spoon of arrowroot to the whipped part and I think it helped firm it up.

  12. Another way to make Coconut Cream Topping...put a can of 'full fat coconut milk' (I buy mine @Trader Joes) in to the fridge (2hrs?), open can, scoop out small amt of solid coconut and whip w/beaters or whip. I've used in small amts (tablespoon on Mooless Chocolate pudding/pie) and no one could tell it wasn't from the can (friends are BIG meat eaters and prepared food 'foodies'- Mick