“Instant” Swiss-Style Soy Yogurt (uncultured)

DSC09849-002Non-dairy yogurt preparation typically involves introducing specific strains of lactobacillus bacteria into non-dairy milk. The yogurt culture then produces lactic acid which in turn thickens and acidifies the milk, thus creating the tangy yogurt.

With this recipe and technique, the culturing step is bypassed and commercial lactic acid is added directly to the soy mixture, which instantly creates a silky, creamy and tangy uncultured yogurt. While it lacks the probiotic benefits of cultured yogurt, “Instant” Swiss-Style Soy Yogurt offers convenience for the home vegan cook (since it lacks probiotic benefits, be sure to include cultured or fermented plant-based foods in your diet).

The yogurt can be sweetened with any natural sweetener of your choice or blended with fruit or fruit preserves for a delicious high protein, non-dairy treat; or layer with fruit or fruit preserves in a tall glass to create parfaits. Try drizzling raw agave syrup over the yogurt and serve with your favorite granola or muesli.

“Instant” Swiss-Style Soy Yogurt is also ideal for preparing non-dairy frozen yogurt (you might want to add ½ tsp of guar gum or xanthan gum when blending to discourage ice-crystallization when freezing). No substitutions can be made for any ingredient in this recipe since each ingredient serves a specific function. This recipe yields about 3 cups or six ½-cup servings.

Ingredients
• 1 carton (12.3 oz) Mori-Nu™ extra-firm silken tofu, or similar (do not use water-packed block tofu)
• 1 and ½ cup organic plain unsweetened soymilk (sorry, no substitutions)
• 2 T refined coconut oil or virgin coconut oil*
• 1 T lactic acid powder (sorry, no substitutions; available from ModernistPantry.com)

*Virgin coconut oil will impart a slight trace of coconut flavor.

Preparation
Line a large plate with several layers of paper towels. Remove the silken tofu from the carton and slice into 6 slabs. Place the slabs on the paper towels. Place additional towels on top and place a large plate on top of the towels. Allow to press and drain for a minimum of 1 hour. It is essential to remove as much water as possible to ensure the best finished texture, so do not rush this step.

Measure the lactic acid into a small dish and set aside near the blender. Do not add the acid to the blender until instructed.

Remove the lid from the coconut oil and place the jar or bottle into a microwave. Heat until melted (about 30 seconds to 1 minute depending upon the solidity of the coconut oil); avoid overheating the oil. Alternately, place the jar or bottle into a container filled with near boiling water and let stand until the oil melts. Measure 2 tablespoons and set aside.

Place the tofu into a blender and add the soymilk. If you wish to add organic sugar to sweeten, now is the time to do so. Process the contents until completely smooth. With the blender running, add the coconut oil, process for 10 seconds and then add the lactic acid powder all at once. The mixture will thicken instantly; turn the blender off.

Give the yogurt a stir and then transfer to a sealable storage container. Refrigerate until well-chilled to ensure maximum thickening before serving. Stir in fruit or fruit preserves as desired.

Triple Dip Seasoned Breading for Frying

DSC09838-001This is my own breading blend for creating an extra-crispy seasoned coating when frying plant-based chikun or pressed tofu “tenders”.

Ingredients for the dry mixture
• 1 and ½ cup all-purpose flour or rice flour
• 2 tsp onion powder
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 2 tsp sweet paprika (or smoked paprika for a smoky flavor)
• 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper

Ingredients for the batter
• 1 cup all-purpose flour or rice flour
• 2 tsp baking powder (preferably aluminum-free)
• 1 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 and ½ cup organic plain unsweetened soymilk or non-dairy buttermilk
(buttermilk recipes can be found in the Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook)

Other ingredients
• high-temp cooking oil for frying

Preparation
Sift or whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the batter ingredients until smooth (small lumps are okay). The batter will thicken upon standing. A thick batter is ideal for this technique so do not dilute with additional milk.

Dip the plant protein of your choice into the dry mixture. Dip into the batter until coated evenly; shake off any excess. Dip again into the dry mixture until coated evenly and set aside on a plate.

In a deep fryer, or deep skillet or wok, heat a sufficient amount of cooking oil to 350°F (test with an instant-read thermometer). Fry in the hot oil until golden brown, turning occasionally. Place on a plate lined with several layers of paper towels to drain. Serve hot or cold.

Sunnyside-Ups with No-Yolks Sauce

DSC08768-001Sunnyside-Ups consist of delicate slices of silken tofu which are lightly seasoned with kala namak (Himalayan black salt), gently pan-seared, and then topped with No-Yolks Sauce. This rich sauce remarkably simulates egg yolk and is wonderful for dipping toast, vegan bacon or sausage.

Chef’s notes: The concept of a vegan fried egg is not new or original, despite what some vegan cookbook authors or recipe bloggers might like you to believe. The concept of using tofu as an alternative to egg whites is not new or original either; in fact, people all over the world are making eggless scrambles with seasoned tofu in their vegan restaurants and home kitchens. The term “sunny side up” is also not new or original and has been in common usage to describe fried eggs for decades, if not hundreds of years.

Other variations of cooked eggs, such as hard-boiled eggs, are also being replicated with plant-based ingredients. Creating molded gels using plant milks and gelling agents such as agar and carrageenan is a common practice in molecular gastronomy and is being used in the top restaurants around the world. This was not invented by vegan cookbook authors or recipe bloggers either, despite their claims of originality and “genius”.

The main goal of vegan cuisine is to provide plant-based options to animal-based foods in order to relieve the suffering and death of farm animals. This also benefits the health of the planet and human health. It’s not about feeding one’s ego.

Replicating animal-based foods with plant-based ingredients is a common pursuit in the vegan culinary world and many use similar ingredients and techniques to achieve that goal. But no one can claim “invention” of the pursuit itself. “Multiple discovery” is a well-known concept in any creative field and this applies to vegan cuisine as well. The only thing that might be unique or original is how a person prepares the food. This is simply my version developed from a great deal of personal experimentation with plant-based ingredients. The recipe for Sunnyside-Ups with No-Yolks Sauce first made an appearance in my Non-Dairy Formulary published in June of 2013. That book is no longer in print; however the recipe has made a reappearance, with some minor adjustments, in my Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook.

 My vegan eggs are certainly not the first of their kind in the world; nor are they the only way to prepare them – but it’s my own recipe and a good recipe, so I felt it was worth presenting here.

Ingredients
• 1 carton (12.3 oz.) Mori-Nu™ extra-firm silken tofu, or similar
• kala namak (Himalayan black salt)
• cooking oil spray
• No-Yolks Sauce (recipe follows)

Preparation
Cut open one end of the carton of silken tofu, drain the water and gently slide out the tofu. Handle it carefully as it is very delicate and will break easily. Transfer the tofu to a work surface, turn the block on its side and slice lengthwise to create 4 even slabs. Place the slabs on a plate lined with several layers of paper towels or a lint-free kitchen towel to drain for a minimum of 20 minutes. If desired, cut each slab into a round using a 3-inch ring mold or biscuit cutter. Discard the tofu remnants or save for another recipe.

Note: If you’re not concerned with appearance and don’t mind rectangle-shaped egg whites, simply slice the tofu as directed into 4 slabs.

Place a small amount of kala namak into a small dish and with a water-moistened fingertip carefully rub some of the salt over the tofu slices. Set aside.

Prepare the no-yolks sauce and keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Mist a non-stick skillet with cooking oil spray and place over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the tofu slices and pan-sear until lightly golden on both sides. Transfer to a serving plate and spoon a generous teaspoon of the sauce onto the center of each slice. Pour additional sauce into individual serving cups on each plate for dipping.

No-Yolks Sauce
No-Yolks Sauce is a rich, golden dipping sauce that remarkably simulates lightly-cooked egg yolk. This recipe yields about 1 cup of sauce. The recipe can be doubled if desired and stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days and reheated at your convenience.

Ingredients
• 1 T nutritional yeast flakes
• ½ tsp unmodified potato starch or cornstarch*
• ¼ tsp sodium alginate, guar gum or xanthan gum**
• ¼ tsp kala namak (Himalayan black salt)
• ⅛ tsp sweet paprika
• ⅛ tsp ground turmeric
• ½ cup water
• ¼ cup organic plain unsweetened soymilk
• ¼ cup (2 oz) non-dairy butter or margarine**

*The consistency of the sauce can be thickened by adding additional starch or simply heating the sauce until it reduces by evaporation. To add starch once the sauce is prepared, mix a very small amount of starch with a very small amount of water to create a “slurry”. Whisk this into the sauce while it is heating.

** Sodium alginate, guar gum or xanthan gum are food gums. Sodium alginate is derived from brown seaweed; guar gum is derived from the guar bean native to India; and xanthan gum is produced by the fermentation of carbohydrates with the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris. Food gum is an essential ingredient for creating the proper consistency and mouthfeel of the sauce. These gums can be purchased inexpensively in small “home-size” packages from ModernistPantry.com. Guar gum and xanthan gum can also be found in health food stores, natural food markets and sometimes larger grocery chains in the natural food section.

***Do not substitute with oil. The lecithin in non-dairy butter or margarine is essential to emulsification of the sauce.

Preparation
In a small dish, combine the nutritional yeast flakes, starch, food gum, kala namak, paprika and turmeric. Combine the water and soymilk together in a cup.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter or margarine over low heat. Whisk in the seasoning/starch/gum blend and stir until smooth.

Whisk in the soymilk/water mixture. Increase the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently until the sauce comes to a low simmer. Do not boil! The egg “yolk” color will develop as the mixture heats. Reduce the heat to low and occasionally give the sauce a gentle stir until ready to serve.

New Alfredo Sauce

DSC09719Alfredo sauce is a creamy and rich white sauce traditionally served over fettuccini. Dairy parmesan cheese is a primary ingredient in traditional Alfredo sauce; however, non-dairy parmesan won’t provide the same texture and richness; therefore non-dairy parmesan is reserved for garnishing the final dish.

The sauce is very easy to prepare and achieves the ideal “nappe” consistency for serving over pasta (“nappe” refers to a sauce or custard consistency thick enough to coat the back of a spoon).

Ingredients
• 2 cups plain unsweetened soymilk
• 1.5 oz (about ⅓ cup) whole raw cashews (pre-soaking unnecessary)
• ¼ cup mild olive oil
• 1 T nutritional yeast flakes
• 1 T mellow white miso paste
• 1 and ½ tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• ¾ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
• ¼ tsp ground white pepper
• 2 T chopped fresh parsley
• shaved Hard Parmesan or Easy Grated Parmesan (from the Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook)

Technique:
Process all ingredients except for the parsley and parmesan in a blender on high speed for 2 full minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring slowly and continually, until the mixture just comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm until ready to serve; stir occasionally.

For Fettuccini Alfredo, prepare the pasta as directed on the package. Drain well and toss the pasta with steamed vegetables and/or plant protein of your choice and a small amount of the sauce to prevent the pasta from sticking. Top with additional sauce when serving. Garnish with the shaved parmesan and fresh parsley.

Shirred Eggless “Eggs”

DSC09685-004Traditionally, shirred eggs, also known as baked eggs, are eggs that have been baked in a flat-bottomed dish or individual ramekins (the name originates from the type of dish in which it was traditionally baked). This recipe is done in much the same manner, except without the eggs. The “eggs” are first baked in a standard muffin tin and can be served by themselves on a plate or in a bowl, on top of toast or English muffins, or served in individual heated ramekins, as desired. The finished product somewhat resembles poached eggs and can also be used in any dish as a replacement for poached eggs, such as Eggless Benedict.

Ingredients
• 1 carton (12.3 oz) Mori-Nu™ silken tofu, or similar
• 3 T unmodified potato starch or cornstarch
• ½ tsp kala namak (Himalayan black salt) – or sea salt or kosher salt if you prefer
• 1 recipe No-Yolks Sauce (from the Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook)

Additional items needed
• 6-count large muffin tin
• cooking oil spray
• individual ramekins for serving, if desired

Technique
Remove the tofu from the carton. Slice the tofu into 4 slabs and place the slabs on a plate lined with several layers of paper towels or a lint-free kitchen towel to drain for a minimum of 20 minutes. Firmly blot the tofu with additional towels to remove as much moisture as possible. This step is very important to ensure the proper texture.

Mist the interior “cups” of the muffin tin with cooking oil spray; this is essential in order to prevent sticking.

Crumble the tofu into a food processor* and add the starch and kala namak. Process the contents until smooth and fluffy, with a texture similar to mayonnaise. Stop to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl as necessary. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

*A blender can be used, but the mixture will be very thick and difficult to retrieve from around the blades; therefore a food processor is recommended for ease of preparation.

Pre heat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Prepare the no-yolks sauce and keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.

For each “egg”, spoon 3 tablespoons of the tofu mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup. Using the back of a spoon, spread the mixture over the bottom and halfway up the sides of the cup. Smooth the mixture as best as you can (it’s not important for it to be totally smooth since the “egg white” will be flipped over when served). However, be sure there are no holes in the mixture covering the bottom or the sauce will leak through when served.

DSC09682

Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 13 minutes.

Note: If planning to serve the “eggs’ in individual ramekins, place the ramekins in the oven to warm the last 2 minutes of baking time (do not heat them longer than 2 minutes or they will get too hot and could potentially crack the cold serving plate when placed onto it).

When baking is complete, the “egg white” should appear dry and feel dry to the touch. The top edges will have curled inwards a little bit too. Remove the tin from the oven and let cool for 1 minute to set.

Using a spoon, carefully lift the “egg white” from the tin and flip over onto a plate, over toast or into the heated ramekin. Let rest for about 30 seconds to allow the center to sink and create a “well” for the sauce.

Spoon some sauce into the “well” and garnish as desired (for example, a dusting of paprika and/or chopped parsley or minced chives). Serve with additional sauce drizzled on the plate or in the ramekin.

Escabeche (Mexican Spicy Pickled Vegetables)

DSC09705“Escabeche” is the Spanish word for “pickle”. This simple but zesty combination of crunchy pickled vegetables is a favorite for serving with Mexican cuisine.

Ingredients
• 2 T olive oil
• 1 large yellow or white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
• 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
• florets from 1 small cauliflower
• 12 whole cloves garlic
• 3 large jalapeno or serrano chilies, seeded, membrane removed and sliced lengthwise into slivers
• 3 T coarse sea salt or kosher salt
• 2 and ½ cups water
• 1 cup champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
• 1 T organic sugar
• 2 bay leaves
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp dried marjoram
• ½ tsp dried thyme

Technique
Add the olive oil to a large cooking pot and place over medium-low heat. Add the vegetables and salt and sweat the mixture for about 10 minutes until softened. Keep the heat on the low side to avoid browning the vegetables.

Add the water, vinegar, sugar and herbs and bring to a rapid boil. Cover the pot and remove from the heat to cool. When cooled, divide the mixture between 2 one-quart jars (be sure to include a bay leaf into each jar), seal and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 days before serving (the longer the better). The refrigerated escabeche will last for a few months stored in this manner.

To seal the jars and preserve the escabeche for pantry storage, removing the pot from the heat. Carefully divide the hot mixture between 2 one-quart mason jars (be sure to include a bay leaf in each jar). Put the lids in place and tighten the lid rings. Invert the jars for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, upright the jars and slightly loosen the lid rings. Let the jars rest and cool until the lids “pop” and seal shut. Retighten the lid rings and store the jars in your pantry until ready to use.

Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam

DSC09681Although many people consider tomatoes to be a vegetable, they’re actually a fruit; so why not make them into jam? Actually, tomato jam is more like a relish than a true jam. My partner Chef Mike and I created this blend one Sunday afternoon and we were thrilled with the lovely balance of sweet, tangy and smoky flavors. This jam is wonderful when used as an alternative to ketchup on veggie burgers and hot dogs. It’s also excellent when served with cheese, such as non-dairy chèvre, on crostini or crusty bread. This recipe yields about 2 cups.

Ingredients
• 1 can (28 oz) whole peeled plum tomatoes or 1 and ½ lb fresh plum tomatoes
• 1 T olive oil
• ½ cup diced sweet yellow onion
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• ½ cup organic sugar
• ¼ cup sherry vinegar
• 2 T tomato paste
• 2 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• ½ tsp ground white pepper

Technique
Drain the excess liquid from the can of tomatoes and place the tomatoes into a food processor; do not process yet. If using fresh tomatoes, bring a large volume of water to a boil. Core the tomatoes and place them into the boiling water for 1 minute. Immediately plunge them into an ice water bath. Once cooled, the skins should slip off easily. Place the tomatoes into the food processor; do not process yet.

In a medium saucepan, sweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. The goal is to soften and draw out the flavor of the onion and garlic without browning. When the onion becomes translucent, transfer the mixture to the food processor with the tomatoes and pulse a few times into a “salsa-like” consistency.

Transfer the tomato mixture back to the saucepan and stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the jam cool and transfer to a sealable container. Refrigerate until well-chilled before serving. Keep in mind that this is a fresh jam, not a preserved jam, but the acidity and sugar will keep it fresh in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Eggless Quittata

DSC09613-002A quittata is a hybrid of a frittata and a quiche. What makes this recipe unique, other than the fact that it’s 100% plant-based, is the savory bread crust (as opposed to using a traditional quiche pastry crust). Tender and flaky pastry crust can be difficult to prepare and personally I find them to be rather bland in flavor. The savory bread crust resolves that problem and requires no baking skills. As the quittata bakes, the exterior crust becomes nice and crispy while the interior remains moist and tender. And unlike a traditional pastry crust, it won’t crumble when sliced, which makes a much nicer presentation.

If you don’t have a springform pan, the quittata can be baked in a casserole dish or baking dish and served as a breakfast/brunch casserole. Seasonings and vegetables can be modified to suit your taste; just be sure any vegetables are cooked sufficiently to remove excess moisture before adding to the eggless custard mixture.

For a traditional eggless quiche or frittata, refer to the “Chef’s Tip” at the bottom of the recipe.

Ingredients for the Eggless Filling
• 2 cartons (12.3 oz. each) Mori-Nu™ extra-firm silken tofu, or similar
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• ½ medium onion, diced
• 4 oz. mushrooms, any variety, sliced or chopped
• 8 oz. ground vegan sausage (or replace with vegetables of your choice)
• ½ tsp dried thyme
• ¼ tsp coarse ground black pepper
• 6 Tbsp cornstarch or unmodified potato starch
• 4 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
• ¾ tsp kala namak (Himalayan black salt)

Ingredients for the Savory Crust
• 5 to 6 oz. “day old” bread of your choice (about 6 slices, crust intact), cut into small cubes
• ¼ cup non-dairy butter or margarine, melted (plus additional for greasing the springform pan)
• 1 tsp dried marjoram
• ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
• ½ tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• ¼ tsp coarse ground black pepper
• 4 oz. shredded vegan cheese that melts (about 1 and ½ cup)

Additional Item
• 9-inch springform pan (or for a casserole use a baking dish or shallow casserole dish)

Technique
Drain the tofu and slice each block into 4 slabs. Place the slabs on a plate lined with several layers of paper towels or a lint-free kitchen towel to drain for a minimum of 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, blot the surface of the tofu with additional toweling to remove as much moisture as possible. This step is very important or the quittata will fail to set properly.

While the tofu is draining, prepare the crust and the filling. Generously grease the springform pan with butter or margarine and place the pan on a baking sheet. In large mixing bowl, toss the cubed bread with the melted butter, herbs, salt and pepper. Pack the bread mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the bread mixture. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Add the olive oil to a skillet and place over medium heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, sausage (or vegetables), and a pinch or two of salt. Sauté until the mushrooms have completely released their moisture and the onions are beginning to caramelize. It is essential that the mixture be cooked thoroughly and the excess moisture evaporated or the quittata will fail to set properly. Stir in the thyme and black pepper and set aside to cool.

Crumble the silken tofu into a food processor. Add the starch, nutritional yeast and kala namak. Process the contents until smooth. Transfer the tofu mixture to the mixing bowl. Stir in the skillet mixture and mix thoroughly.

Spoon the filling over the bread and cheese mixture and smooth the surface with the back of the spoon; sprinkle with additional ground black pepper, if desired. Bake uncovered on the middle oven rack for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the top of the quittata is golden. Let the quittata cool for about 15 to 20 minutes to allow it to “set” before removing from the springform pan and transferring to a serving plate. Slice and serve.

If the quittata needs to be reheated, cover securely with foil and heat in the oven at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Slices can also be reheated in the microwave but this will make the crust a bit soggy.

Chef’s Tip: For a traditional eggless quiche, omit the savory bread crust and prebake a 9-inch pastry crust for about 15 minutes at 375°F. Layer 4 oz. of shredded cheese over the bottom of the crust. Add the eggless filling mixture and smooth the top. Bake uncovered on the middle oven rack for about 50 minutes or until golden. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes to allow it to “set” before slicing and serving.

For a traditional eggless frittata, omit the crust entirely and spoon the eggless filling mixture into a greased 9-inch oven-safe stainless steel skillet or a tart pan with or without a removable bottom. Smooth the surface and top with 4 oz. shredded cheese. Bake at 375°F on the middle oven rack for about 50 minutes or until golden. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes to allow it to “set” before slicing and serving.

No’Nam Pla (Vegan Asian “Fish” Sauce)

This briny infusion is rich in “umami” (a loanword from the Japanese which can be described as a “pleasant savory flavor”) and can be used in equal amounts as a replacement for traditional fish sauce in your favorite Southeast Asian recipes. This recipe yields about 1 cup.

Ingredients
• 2 cups water
• ¼ cup tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• ½ medium onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 2 T (4 g) dried shredded wakame (seaweed)
• 1 oz (28 g) dried shiitake, porcini or portabella mushrooms
• 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
• 2 T mellow white miso paste

Technique
Bring all ingredients except for the miso to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Mix the miso into the macerated mixture.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a glass jar, pressing the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use. Due to its salt content, this sauce should stay fresh for several months in the refrigerator.

Lemon Meringue Pie

DSC09494Tangy and refreshing lemon curd is poured into a prebaked pie crust and then chilled until set. The pie is then topped with billowy clouds of eggless meringue and lightly baked to perfection.

About the meringue: The recipe and technique for the eggless meringue is an adaptation of a recipe posted by Goose Wohlt in a vegan cooking group on Facebook. However, I do know that other chefs have been experimenting with chickpea liquid to create a whipped “egg white” texture prior to Goose’s discovery. Regardless of the originator, the idea is brilliant and I offer my heartfelt gratitude. For the meringue you will need a stand mixer with a balloon whip attachment or a handheld electric rotary mixer with a whip attachment or 2 beaters.

Note: As a pie meringue, I feel this recipe is superior to meringue made with Versawhip 600K and far superior to egg replacer powder; however, Versawhip 600K is still my ingredient of choice for preparing marshmallows and crispy meringue cookies (because it is a pure protein rather than a starch).

Pie Crust
• 1 nine-inch non-dairy and egg-free pie crust

Pie Filling Ingredients
• 1 carton (12.3 oz.) Mori-Nu™ extra-firm silken tofu, or similar
• 1 and ¼ cup organic sugar
• 1 cup water
• ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
• 5 T cornstarch or unmodified potato starch
• 1 T fresh grated lemon zest
• ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Meringue Ingredients
• ½ cup plus 2 T organic sugar
• 1 can (15 oz.) cooked white beans (Great Northern, cannellini or white navy) or garbanzo beans (chickpeas), preferably salt-free*
• ½ tsp guar gum, xanthan gum or sodium alginate
(food gum stabilizes the meringue and discourages deflation when baked)
• 1 tsp real vanilla extract

*In my opinion, Great Northern beans possess the mildest flavor which is ideal for this recipe.

Technique
In a DRY blender process the meringue sugar (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons) until finely powdered. Set the powdered sugar aside in a small bowl. This will be used for preparing the meringue and is not added to the pie filling mixture.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the pie crust for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove and set aside to cool.

In the same blender, process the pie filling ingredients until smooth. Pour the blender contents into a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently with a flexible spatula. The mixture will be foamy and milky in appearance. Stir constantly as the mixture begins to thicken. Keep stirring until the mixture begins to bubble and the milky and foamy appearance transforms into a thick and gelatinous lemon curd.

Pour the filling into the pie crust, smooth the top gently with a rubber/silicone spatula or the back of a spoon and place in the refrigerator uncovered for a minimum of 2 hours until the top of the pie is firmly set.

After the pie has chilled for a minimum of 2 hours, preheat the oven to 200°F while preparing the meringue.

Preparing the Meringue
Strain the liquid from the can of beans into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle in the food gum and begin whipping on high speed for 3 minutes.

Gradually begin to incorporate the powdered sugar, in increments, while whipping. Continue to whip the mixture until soft peaks begin to form. Add the vanilla and continue to whip the mixture until it is voluminous and stiff peaks begin to form.

DSC09479Spoon and spread the meringue onto the surface of the pie, avoiding the edges by ½-inch. Create soft peaks in the meringue using the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. To lightly brown the meringue, set the oven on “Broil” and position the pie on an oven rack close to the flame source. Keep the oven door open while doing this and watch the meringue carefully – it will brown quickly and can burn easily. Rotate the pie as needed until the peaks are evenly browned.

Remove to cool for about 5 minutes and then place the pie in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly for several hours until completely set before serving. Keep the pie refrigerated but do not cover or the meringue will turn into a gooey liquid.

For Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts
Prepare the pie filling according to the recipe. Fill individual frozen mini fillo cups with the filling and refrigerate as recommended. Then top with a small dollop of meringue and bake according to the directions. Refrigerate until chilled and serve.