My pantry

When life gives you lemons, make gluten free Lemon Meringue Pie

October 6, 2013

lemon meringue pie ingredients

I can remember standing in our kitchen in Coffs Harbour when I was just a wee girl. At that time our kitchen was orange laminate and fake brown woodgrain linoleum on the floor. Interior design 1970’s Oz style.

I was standing in front of the wall mounted oven, on my tippy toes, (probably salivating onto the floor) trying to peer through the murky glass to see the mountain of cloud-white meringue that was inside. I knew that in just mere minutes, my mum would pull out a pie bursting with lemon curd and crumbly pastry topped with the soft, and crunchy meringue that I so adored.

I loved me some lemon meringue pie as a girl. It was my all time favorite.

lemonsAs I got into the full swing of my food nazism, that was the kind of stuff that was the first go. Too much sugar, too much butter, too much joy on a plate. It couldn’t have been good. I’ve learned as I got older that one piece of pie is not the undoing of the human body. It’s an accumulation of things over a day, day after day, after day.

Who ate all the pies?

Have you noticed heaps of wholefood treats out there lately? You no longer need to mindlessly reach for a packet of Tim Tams. You can make your own from raw and organic ingredients.

Except it’s never really quite the same. Let’s be honest.

Although reducing sugar and wheat is important, we also need to remember that substitution treats, are still not exactly salad. We’re reducing the intake of the shitty things, otherwise known as processed stuff and hidden numbers, and that’s awesome.

We are creatures geared towards hedonism enjoyment, and sweet food ticks all our boxes, and makes our brains go all pokie-machine-jackpot bells and whistles. We can substitute till the cows come home, but really sweet yummies are sweet yummies.

The body breaks down different sugars in different ways so some are ‘better’ than others, but if you eat a whole pie, it’s still a whole pie.

I read this great post yesterday, by the gorgeous Alexx Stuart, about mindful eating, which really resonated with me. I’m totally guilty of eating at my computer, and offering the kids food while they’re playing. Are you?

Food rant aside, I wanted to mess with my dear old friend, Lemon Meringue Pie, and mindfully scoff  savour as much of it as possible in one sitting.

More than anything this was a science experiment and this baby worked. It was everything a lemon meringue pie should be.

gluten free, sugar free pie crustThe issues I struggled with was getting the curd thick enough. The extra liquid from the maple syrup, and the lack of sugar messed with the chemistry, but I got there in the end. Also, it needs to be eaten immediately, because the meringue can’t hold the weight of the maple for too long and it weeps a little.

That said, it was still damned tasty the next day, just a little moist with maple goodness around the edges.

gluten free, sugar free lemon meringue pieWhat you will need :

For the base –

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup sesame, sunflower, linseed and pine nut mix
  • 120g dates, pitted
  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil, or butter

For the lemon curd – 

  • 3 lemons, juice and finely grated rind only
  • 8 tablespoons cornflour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 80 g unsalted butter

For the meringue – 

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • a pinch salt

What you will need to do :

Lightly grease a 30cm tart dish with removable base with butter or coconut oil.

Chuck all of your base ingredients into a food processor, and blitz until it forms a sticky paste. Press into your tart dish with wet hands, ensuring it goes up the sides a little.

Pop a saucepan with water onto the stove and place a heatproof bowl over the water creating a bain marie. Add your lemon zest and juice to bowl.

In a seperate bowl, add three tablespoons water to your corn flour and stir to combine. If it solidifies too much add another tablespoon of water until you can make it into a paste. Add to lemon juice and whisk well to combine.

Add one cup of water. This is where things got a little crazy for me. I stirred and stirred and stirred and it didn’t get thick enough, but after four years (prone to exaggeration) of stirring I added more corn flour. You guys should be fine with this quantity as I did the hard yards for you – You’re welcome.

So, stir until quite thick, it will need to be quite hot, and then add your egg yolks and you butter and keep stirring like  mo’fo to ensure your curd comes together smoothly. Keep on stirring until it’s quite thick, ie when you spoon a blob out it sits on top for a minute before joining the rest.

Put into the fridge to cool.

gluten free lemon meringue pie fillingWhen it’s cool, spoon into your pie base and spread evenly. In a clean, dry bowl, beat your egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form little peaks. Slowly, slowly add your maple syrup ensuring it’s well combined. Do not over beat or they will flop like, well, a floppy thing.

Spoon on top, using the back of your spoon to create peaks. You could pipe it on if you could be arsed, but I like it a little more rustic.

trusty blowtorchTo brown the top, I used my trusty blow torch, which I recommend everyone owns, but if not you could pop it under a grill for a few minutes to brown. The grill will melt your base, however, so you’ll need to pop it back in the fridge for a minute.

I recommend you eat immediately to stop any maple weepage. Eat it all. Eat the whole pie.

Just be sure to savour it.

gluten free lemon meringue pie






I’m hooking this recipe up as part of this month’s Our Growing Edge monthly blogging food extravaganza with Bunny Eats Design and Nom Nom Cat. Check out more about Our Growing Edge here.

If you liked this post be sure to like my Facebook page or follow my twit twaddle @theholsbys to ensure you can always keep up with the Holsbys.

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  • Reply thelikeffect October 6, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Yay! GF lemon meringue – my favourite now in gluten free J thank you J

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  • Reply Nina October 7, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Beautiful photos, Danielle. I can’t say I’m big on lemon meringue, but wowzas I would eat the one you made in a second; it looks so good! I totally know what you mean about healthier treats. At the end of the day, a low-fat cookie is still a cookie 🙂

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys October 9, 2013 at 8:07 am

      It’s true…. just because I know this doesn’t make me less susceptible to over indulgence though 😉

  • Reply Tara ~ Gluten Free Hart October 11, 2013 at 12:49 am

    I love your staying power stirring that mother load of curd. Just when you think that sucker has got FAIL written all over it and you’ve got a monster bicep cramp, the curdie mccurdster just comes together. It’s a thing of beauty I tell you. Well done

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys October 11, 2013 at 7:07 am

      You are hilarious! Yes, I showed that stinking curd who was boss, and I was victorious!!!!

      Sent from my iPhone


  • Reply shecando October 11, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    This looks amazing. So going go the kitchen right now to get started!

  • Reply Bunny Eats Design October 13, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Well done on conquering this one. I always order lemon meringue if it’s on the menu. Recently had a key lime meringue pie would was like lemon on crack.

    p.s. I think I’m going to need a blow torch for entertainment purposes.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys October 13, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      TOTALLY!! I bought one just for this when I realised I couldn’t grill it as the base would melt. Now I’m planning all manner of brûlées!! She siad you could crckle your pig skin if required too.
      I know how you feel about pork crackling.

  • Reply Sam Stone @ A Life on Venus October 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I’ll have to have a go at making this for my mum. She is a celiac.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys October 13, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Yeah, man. Get into it. I just put my leftover curd through natural yoghurt and whacked it in the ice cream churner. The gift that keeps on giving!!

      Sent from my iPhone


  • Reply Italian KiwiLisa October 18, 2013 at 3:24 am

    This looks great! I’m always looking for gluten-free recipes for my (ever-increasing!) circle of gluten-free friends. Lemon meringue pie is also my favourite food in the whole world (except for maybe Tim-Tams 😉 )!

  • Reply Alexx October 23, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I totally thought I had thanked you for the mention. Obviously not yet! Thanks lovely. That pie looks rather scrumptious! 🙂

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys October 24, 2013 at 7:51 am

      Super scrumptious indeed. No sweat, sweets. You’re really rather inspirational; When I was in bars, and now even more so.

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