If you know, or even read, me at all, you know that I love me some animal products. Especially the fatty bits. But bringing dessert to a dinner party, at which a very wonderful vegan friend is in attendance, left me in a conundrum. Do I honor my old-school, all-natural minimalistic baking skills, or do I honor my friend?
I have no beef with vegan cooking, per say. But all too often it involves using really scary synthetic ingredients that I just will not put in my body. Things like vegetable shortening or margarine in pie-crust. Or weird, highly processed egg-substitutes. It’s not food, I won’t eat it.
So I did some thinking and research and came up with a very simple lemon tart that used all natural ingredients, and could honor both my cooking style and my friend. And it was delicious.
This lemon tart is essentially a gigantic lemon bar with strawberries on top. It could not be simpler, more natural, or yummier. I would have thought it would easily serve 12 people, but 6 of us finished it off in no time because we kept having “just a little bit more.”
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup coconut flour (you could use any flour you want, really. Spelt would add a nice nutty flavor.)
6 Tablespoons (ish) coconut oil (solid at room temperature.)
1 1/2 cans coconut cream or milk (NOT light)
1 1/4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
Lots of fresh strawberries, or any other fresh fruit you like.
CRUST – Preheat oven to 350
Place the oats in a food processor with the metal chopping blade and process until they are flour.
Add the coconut flour, 1/4 cup sugar and pinch of salt. Process to blend.
Add the coconut oil and pulse until it’s mealy like wet sand.
Add a small amount of cold water at a time, pulse, until it mostly holds together. It will NOT form a ball like a pie crust, you just want it to be sticking together enough that you can press it into a pan.
Dump the crust mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch spring-form pan and press it up the sides a bit. Make sure it’s fairly even, it does not matter how far up the side it goes.
Bake at 350 until it starts to brown a bit. Probably about 25 – 30 minutes.
Put the coconut cream / milk in a saucepan and add the corn starch. Whisk it well until it’s all blended in.
Add the 1/2 sugar and begin heating it until it comes to a boil and just begins to thicken.
Turn the heat down and add the lemon juice and lemon zest while still whisking. Whisk for 3 or 4 minutes until it really starts setting.
Pour into the prepared crust.
Chill for a couple hours, until it is solid.
Chop up a bunch of fresh strawberries.
Cover them with a few tablespoons of sugar so that they get all juicy and goopy and delicious.
Add in some lemon zest for flavor continuity.
Put the berries on just before serving.
There ya go. Super delicious, all natural! BUT WAIT! WHY AREN’T THEY YELLOW? Typical lemon bars are yellow from the egg yolks used to thicken them. No egg yolks means no yellow. But still totally delicious.
(I meant to take a picture, but seriously, they disappeared really fast. And a particularly cute boy was rubbing my feet, so I didn’t want to go find a camera anyway. What can I say, I have sweet toes to match my sweet tooth.)