Recipe Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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OK - not my recipe (from the Minimalist baker) but one I am very definitely going to make. I'll start the soaking process tonight with the cashew nuts (hopefully nothing will freeze, we have a cold spell at the moment...). Then I will report back. Edit see lower for revised recipe.

I suspect I will drop the sugar content a touch though. I also think that 1/2 cup or 125ml of lemon juice is going to be much more than 2 (even 2 large) lemons as suggested in the original recipe. Closer to 3-4 I suspect, maybe more. I usually only get 2-3tbsp of lemon juice per lemon, so that's 30-45ml at best. I've got all of the ingredients in my store cupboard (including more lemons which were bought at the weekend) and I fancy a treat for the work that is lined up for this weekend.

I'm going to switch out the 1 cup of almonds, in preference to using already ground almonds, though I suspect I will use almond meal because it is readily available in Australia and very cheap.

Ingredients
Filling
  • 125g (1 cup) cashew nuts
  • 250g (1 cup) coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp (15 g) arrowroot
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) lemon juice
  • 1 heaped tbsp (5 g) lemon zest
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 50-75 ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup
Crust
  • 100g (1 cup) porridge oats
  • 125g (1 cup) almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp (25 g) coconut sugar (or soft brown sugar if not available)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
  • 4-5 tbsp (60-75 g) coconut oil, melted
Method
  1. Add the cashew nuts to a mixing bowl and cover with boiling hot water overnight, then drain. It's important that they are soft all the way through so that you don't have a bitty lemon curd.
  2. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180C, Gas 4) and line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  3. Add oats, sea salt, and coconut sugar to a high speed blender and mix on high until a fine meal is achieved.
  4. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl, add the almond meal, maple syrup and melted coconut oil, starting with 4 Tbsp (60 g) of melted coconut oil and adding more if it's too dry. Stir with a spoon to combine until a loose dough is formed. You should be able to squeeze the mixture between two fingers and form a dough instead of it crumbling. If too dry, add a bit more melted coconut oil.
  5. Transfer mixture to parchment-lined baking sheet and spread evenly. Pack it down well and evenly.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F/Gas 4/180C, then increase heat to 375 F (190 C/Gas 5) and bake for 5-8 minutes more, or until the edges are golden brown and there is some browning on the surface. Remove from oven to cool slightly, then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F (180 C).
  7. Once cashews are soaked and drained, add to a high speed blender with coconut cream, arrowroot starch, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and 2/3rds of the maple syrup. Mix on high until very creamy and very smooth.
  8. Taste and adjust flavour as needed.
  9. Pour filling over the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Tap on counter to remove any air bubbles.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges look very slightly dry, but the middle is not liquid. (Mine actually took an additional 20 mins at Gas 2 before it was setting.)
  11. Allow to cool uncovered, then transfer to fridge ideally overnight.
  12. Cut into 16 squares, and dust lightly with icing sugar (optional) and lemon zest (also optional). It will keep for 2-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
As always once I have made it, I'll add my comments and photos..

:yummy:
 
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SatNavSaysStraightOn

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Right - my thoughts on them...

Firstly the filling
It is really creamy....
It isn't lemony enough for our tastes.
It's a touch too sweet even with only 60g of maple syrup added.
It isn't lemon coloured and certainly won't be if you use maple syrup. I would probably make it with white caster sugar or icing sugar if I wanted a paler lemon colour.
It needed 4 lemons to get just over 125ml of fresh lemon juice
1 large lemon yielded 7g of lemon rind. I think we needed more. Perhaps next time I'll use all of the lemons for rind as well.
There was almost more of the filling than was needed :whistling:
I used the entire tin of coconut cream because the one I have (Ayam) is 100% coconut kernel extract and nothing else. It is a 270ml tin.
It really does benefit from going into the fridge overnight once it has cooled. It sets much more solid that way.
The filling took twice as long to set as the original recipe suggested it would. This is probably why my base was overcooked. Next time I won't cook the base at all prior to adding the filling.

The Base
There wasn't enough of it.
Almond meal worked just fine. In fact I can't see how ground almonds would improve matters other than adding more oil to the situation.
My oven is uneven and overcooked the base as a result of filling needing much longer in the oven to set than expected.
Does the base even need extra cooking time? I'm not sure it actually does.

IMG_8941.JPG

And finally, if you do have a square tin, use it. I don't so had to use an 8 inch diameter sandwich tin. I did, however, enjoy eating the extra bits off the side as I cut it up though!

IMG_8944.JPG

This was taken before it had been in the fridge overnight. It really does firm up superbly if allowed to.


I also totally forgot that I was going to have added an extra layer of dates to this - it would have made it even sweeter. If you do, soak the dates overnight in water - drain, reserving the water and then puree them using as little of the reserved water as possible. Now spread that over the top of the base before adding the lemon curd layer.
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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Modified Recipe (no maple syrup, more lemon rind, more cooking of filling.)

Ingredients
Filling
  • 125g (1 cup) cashew nuts
  • 250g (1 cup) coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp (15 g) arrowroot
  • 150-175ml lemon juice
  • 3 heaped tbsp (15 g) lemon zest
  • 60g Maple Syrup (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt
Crust
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 125g almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp (25 g) coconut sugar (or soft brown sugar if not available)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup (optional)
  • 4-5 tbsp (60-75 g) coconut oil, melted
Method
  1. Soak the cashew nuts overnight to soften, then drain. It's important that they are soft all the way through so that you don't have a bitty lemon curd.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180C, Gas 4) and line an 8x8 inch baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Crumble or grate (if necessary) the coconut sugar, then add the oats, sea salt, and crumbled coconut sugar to a food processor and process on high until a fine crumble has been achieved.
  4. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the almond meal, maple syrup and 60g of the melted coconut oil. Now mix well (by hand or food mixer) and adding more melted coconut oil if the base crumble is not sticking together. You should be able to pack the base mixture down to form something akin to a pastry dough.
  5. Transfer mixture to baking tray and spread evenly. Pack it down well.
  6. Optional baking. (Bake for 15 minutes at 350F/Gas 4/180C, until the edges are starting to brown Remove from oven to cool slightly.)
  7. Add the soaked cashew nuts to a high speed blender along with coconut cream, arrowroot, lemon juice, lemon zest and sea salt. Process until very creamy and very smooth.
  8. Pour the filling over the pre-baked crust and tap on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges look very slightly dry, but the middle is not liquid. (Mine actually took an additional 20 mins at Gas 2 before it was setting in the middle.)
  10. Allow to cool uncovered, then transfer to fridge ideally overnight (best of luck on this one!)
  11. Cut into 16 squares, and dust lightly with icing sugar (optional) and lemon zest (also optional). It will keep for 2-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
 
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I used 8 lemons to squeeze out 1 cup of lemon juice, and a bit over 2 tablespoons of zest from the peel. In the case of this recipe, I think your instincts were right about upping the lemon. This is one of several desserts I haven't made yet, but I think I will soon enough. :)
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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I used 8 lemons to squeeze out 1 cup of lemon juice, and a bit over 2 tablespoons of zest from the peel. In the case of this recipe, I think your instincts were right about upping the lemon. This is one of several desserts I haven't made yet, but I think I will soon enough. :)
If you do make it, please can you try for some better pictures - hopefully without the burn crust... my oven is useless. Sadly I'm a tenant so can't change it. :(
 

Cookie

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So does it actually take 3 days to make?
day 1 setting the cashew nuts to soak
day 2 making most of it and putting it into the fridge
day 3 it is finally set and ready to cut and eat?
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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So does it actually take 3 days to make?
day 1 setting the cashew nuts to soak
day 2 making most of it and putting it into the fridge
day 3 it is finally set and ready to cut and eat?
Not really, It is more like 36 hrs.
so Night (12hrs) to soak the cashew nuts, day to make them (another 12hrs) and then finally 12hrs in the fridge overnight... so 36hrs or 1 1/2 days.
 
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