Lemon Meringue Pie (in a jar) – gluten-free and dairy-free

Healthy Lemon Meringue Pie

Recipe Makeover

Stephanie Kanoeola Megumi Wong


I’ve been wanting to do a refreshing, baked, healthy dessert recipe for the past few weeks – something with a light, flaky crust and tart filling, like this very yummy healthy lemon meringue pie (in a jar). To be quite honest, I don’t bake like I used to – mostly because I’m busy, but partially because I feel better without having loads of sugar in my body. When I do bake, I like to explore the ingredients, deconstruct them in ways to reduce sugar, lighten the flour and butter, and still make it taste DEEEELISH.

Your average lemon meringue pie is pretty simple. It consists of a flaky, buttery crust (pre baked), a filling that’s made up of about 1 cup of sugar, egg yolks, flour, butter, cornstarch, lemon zest, and lemon juice, with a topping of whipped egg whites and sugar.

For this recipe, my top 3 challenges were:

  1. reducing the sugar without making it too tart or bland
  2. simplifying the crust and making it gluten-free (because many of our readers have intolerances)
  3. figuring out how to thicken the filling without adding starch and flour

Here’s what I did:

  1. used 2 tablespoons honey instead of sugar (for the filling), 1 tablespoon coconut sugar in the crust, and 1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar in the meringue
  2. made a 4-ingredient crust recipe using almond flour and combined everything in a blender (no kneading or rolling required)
  3. thickened the pie filling with soaked and blended chia seeds instead of flour and starch

Healthy Lemon Meringue Pie Healthy Lemon Meringue Pie Healthy Lemon Meringue Pie Healthy Lemon Meringue Pie Healthy Lemon Meringue Pie Healthy Lemon Meringue Pie Healthy Lemon Meringue Pie

It’s pretty simple, lightly sweet n’ tart, refreshing, and EXACTLY the taste that I was going for. The filling texture isn’t quite perfect yet and not super solid like traditional lemon meringue pies, BUT if you make it in individual jars or mini tart pans, it will work great. I think I’ll keep toying with it, but for now, enjoy the goodness.

Ingredients

Filling
4 tablespoons chia seeds
3/4 cup water
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons honey, melted
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
4 egg yolks

Almond Flour Crust
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened

Meringue
4 egg whites
1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the crust ingredients by mixing the almond flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and coconut flakes in a blender.
  3. Smash 2 tablespoons of the crust with the back of a spoon into 6 separate jars.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes (or until lightly golden). Remove and cool for 10 minutes.
  5. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling by soaking the chia seeds for 5 minutes in 3/4 cup water.
  6. Combine soaked chia seeds, lemon juice, lemon zest, melted honey, melted coconut oil, and coconut milk in a blender or food processor.
  7. In a medium sauce pan, heat the mixture until a low simmer, then remove from heat and whisk while slowly pouring in the egg yolks. Avoid scrambled eggs by whisking quickly and pouring slowly.
  8. Scoop pie filling over the cooled crust, then bake for another 15 minutes. Remove and set aside while you make the meringue.
  9. Reduce oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Prepare the egg whites by with a hand-mixer (or manually) on medium-low until foam starts to form. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of coconut sugar, then continue to mix until soft peaks form.
  11. Scoop the egg whites over each jar and bake for about 7-10 minutes (or until golden).
  12. Let it cool completely before serving.

Makes ~ 6 mini, wide-mouth jars or 1 small, 9″ pie.

Love mason jars? We do too! Here are 10 Cool Mason Jar Ideas for healthy eating (and living)

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Thanks for reading! My name is Stephanie Wong and I am a certified holistic health & nutrition coach, home-grown natural food cook, lover of all things ginger, and a strong believer that strength is beauty. [read more...]

Comments...

  1. Jarome says:

    Been trying to make a perfect meringue white eggs over eggs but sadly i don’t succeed. I hope this one will work. *crossing fingers*

    • stephanie says:

      Hi Jarome! Meringue’s are definitely intimidating, but once you got it, you got it for life! A huge tip is to make sure there is NO WATER in the bowl (like if the bowl is damp). You can use a hand mixer, or even use a fork. Checkout our Fluffy Almond Waffle recipe for how-to photos and a timer to show you the “evolution” of whipping egg whites from scratch. Here’s the link: http://www.eatlifewhole.com/2012/05/fluffy-almond-millet-waffles/

      Enjoy!
      Steph

  2. Molly Cooper says:

    How did you put your finger on exactly what I want for these days of summer tease? I’m going to try this recipe tonight! Thanks for cutting out a lot of the sugar and heaviness — it looks so light and flaky.

    • stephanie says:

      Hi Molly!

      So glad it fits your cravings too! Super light and refreshing. It’s DIFFERENT than the traditional version, but quite satisfying. I’d be curious to know if you love it or hate it :) Let us know!!! Enjoy!
      -Steph

  3. Jill says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe! I made it for my niece and nephew and they loved it. (These same kids were initially horrified when I told them I would no longer be serving them sugary processed desserts at my place.) To be honest, I was also stunned that it tasted as good as it did, since most of the recipes on the internet for lemon meringue pie call for at least a cup of sugar and this has very little sugar!
    I made it in a pie plate and, true, it was a little strange looking and runny, but I told them it was lemon meringue pudding…and they gobbled it up.
    Another great way to get them to eat chia. Thanks again.

    • stephanie says:

      Hey Jill – WOOHOO for a successful family dessert. So glad that your niece and nephew enjoyed it! Secretly, I think kids can be our best critics. They just tell it like it is! I’m headed up to see my nephew in a few weeks and I’m wondering if he’s like it too. He’s seven and quite an honest food critic too:) Thanks for sharing your story! -steph

  4. Indrani says:

    Thanks so much for this great recipe! My hubby loves lemon meringue pies but I can’t eat wheat or dairy and prefer to be low sugar too. I made this for his birthday and everyone gobbled it up. I love that it is in little jars too. Thank you so much! You inspired me to create my first ever slice. You can check it out at http://www.theesotericsun.com/makeitmonday/. I used your awesome crust as the base.

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  1. [...] Lemon Meringue Pie in a Jar (gluten & dairy free) {Eat Life Whole} [...]

  2. [...] Recipe and photo credit to eatlifewhole.com [...]

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