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:
- reducing the sugar without making it too tart or bland
- simplifying the crust and making it gluten-free (because many of our readers have intolerances)
- figuring out how to thicken the filling without adding starch and flour
Here’s what I did:
- 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
- made a 4-ingredient crust recipe using almond flour and combined everything in a blender (no kneading or rolling required)
- thickened the pie filling with soaked and blended chia seeds instead of flour and starch
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.
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
4 egg whites
1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Prepare the crust ingredients by mixing the almond flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and coconut flakes in a blender.
- Smash 2 tablespoons of the crust with the back of a spoon into 6 separate jars.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes (or until lightly golden). Remove and cool for 10 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling by soaking the chia seeds for 5 minutes in 3/4 cup water.
- Combine soaked chia seeds, lemon juice, lemon zest, melted honey, melted coconut oil, and coconut milk in a blender or food processor.
- 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.
- Scoop pie filling over the cooled crust, then bake for another 15 minutes. Remove and set aside while you make the meringue.
- Reduce oven to 375 degrees F.
- 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.
- Scoop the egg whites over each jar and bake for about 7-10 minutes (or until golden).
- Let it cool completely before serving.
Makes ~ 6 mini, wide-mouth jars or 1 small, 9″ pie.