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Mar 3, 2016

Lemon Cream Pie {top 8 + gluten free}

It is beginning to feel like spring around here, though I can't complain too much as our winter has been very mild compared to typical Midwestern winters. I have all things spring on the brain too, so it has arrived at the perfect time! I don't often go all out with decorating around the house for specific holidays, but more for the season. Although I've picked up quite a few cute items from Target so there are a few bunnies around for the time being!

Another joy of spring is the food! Bright, fresh flavors, and vibrant pops of color are a great way to bring in the warmer weather. Some of my favorite desserts right now are lemon and coconut cream pies, fresh fruit pies like peach and strawberry. Or this grasshopper mint pie! I can't wait to find more reasons to make some delicious desserts!

If you'll notice the theme I'm going with here, I'd say pies are a springtime staple. What perfect timing as one of those fun, silly holidays that revolves around food is coming up in a couple of weeks - Pi Day!

My friends at So Delicious Dairy Free are gearing up to kick off their #Pi4All Instagram contest and you won't want to miss it! The contest runs from March 12-14th. Post your own allergy-friendly pie snaps on Instagram using the hashtag #Pi4All. For each pie recipe posted with the #Pi4All hashtag during those dates, So Delicious Dairy Free will donate $3.14 to Kids with Food Allergies Foundation (a very worthy cause in our community) - up to $5,000!

Additionally, one lucky winner will receive a Visa gift card worth $314 for their photo!  A $200 gift card will be awarded for second place and a $100 gift card for 3rd place. Ten additional runners-up will be selected to receive 3 VIP coupons redeemable for So Delicious treats!

While you are considering what your favorite pie recipe is, I'll leave you with one of my favorites... Lemon Cream Pie. It is free of the top 8 allergens and gluten, and so simple to make. You can do like I did here and make a cookie crust, or use a pre-made graham cracker crust, or for an old-fashioned take on cream pie, make a homemade crust (gluten-free and vegan) like this one from my friend Megan at Allergy Free Alaska. (It's my favorite pie crust recipe!)

Lemon Cream Pie {top 8 + gluten free}

1 package top 8 allergen free crunchy sugar cookies (I used Enjoy Life Foods Crunchy Sugar Cookies), finely crushed
3 Tbsp dairy-free butter substitute, melted

1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup So Delicious Dairy Free Original Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer
2 organic lemons, zested and juiced (1/3 cup juice and 2 Tbsp zest, divided)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
natural yellow food color (optional)
1 container So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour the finely crushed sugar cookie crumbs into a 9-inch glass pie dish. Make a well in the middle and pour in the melted butter substitute. Combine with a fork and then press the mixture firmly into the bottom and on the sides of the dish in an even layer. Once you have created your crust, bake it at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow crust to cool completely before filling.

In a saucepan on the stove, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. In a measuring cup, combine the coconut milk creamer and lemon juice. Turn stove to medium heat and carefully whisk in the liquid mixture. Continue whisking slowly, until the mixture begins to heat and thicken. Allow it to cook while stirring constantly until thick but do not allow it to boil.

Once the filling mixture has thickened, carefully stir in the vanilla extract and natural yellow food coloring. Finely chop 3/4 of the zest from the lemon (reserving the remaining 1/4 for garnish). Fold in the lemon zest and transfer the filling to a container with a lid. Cover and place filling in the refrigerator for about an hour or until it has cooled completely. Once filling mixture is cool, gently fold in 1/2 of the container of CocoWhip until they're fully combined.

Spoon the filling mixture directly into the crust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, or in the freezer for one hour until just before ready to serve. When you are ready to serve the pie, if frozen, allow it to thaw for about 10 minutes first. Top with more So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip and garnish with remaining lemon zest.

For an extra sweet garnish: I like to make sugared zest when I have some extra time before serving. Spread the reserved lemon zest in an even layer on parchment paper. Spritz lightly with water, then sprinkle liberally with fine white sugar. Allow it to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes or until some of the water has been absorbed and the zest starts to dry a little. Top your pie with the sugared zest just before serving. 

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