Vegan Lemon Squares
It’s the middle of winter, and I don’t know about you, but I’m craving bright food. Citrus, bright colours, pops of flavor… all just what I need right now to wake up my palate.
The other night, I was seriously craving lemon bars. Like, seriously.
If you’ve never had one, they are basically a shortbread crust, with a soft, custardy-like lemon filling on top.
The challenge with lemon bars is all about consistency. You need them to be firm enough to set up and slice, but you also want them to be soft and silky in texture, almost like a panna cotta or a pudding.
In regular baking, this consistency is achieved my making a custard with egg yolks. If you are making them vegan, obviously that’s not an option.
So for mine, I use cornstarch to thicken, and olive oil in the place of butter. You could also probably use coconut oil, though that would affect the flavor more.
Vegan Lemon Squares
For the crust
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter
For the filling
- 2/3 cup non-dairy milk
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 tbsp corn starch
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup lemon juice about 2-3 lemons
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- pinch of salt
To make the crust
- Place the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl, and stir. Make a little well in the centre of the bowl, and pour the coconut oil or melted vegan butter into it. Mix well until the wet is incorporated into the dry. It will be crumby. Press this mixture into the bottom of a greased 8"x8" pan, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling
- In a mason jar, combine water, non dairy milk and cornstarch. Screw on the lid and shake well to mix. Pour into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, and then cook over medium heat, stirring continuously with a whisk until it starts to bubble.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, and continue to stir until it thickens and bubbles.You’ll know it’s done when it coats the back of a spoon, and you can run your finger through it without it running back together.
- Pour the filling onto your prepared crust.
- Place in the fridge overnight to set. The next morning, remove from the pan, and cut into bars or triangles.