Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vegan Lemon Bars

"Hey, what'cha doin?"
"Oh, I'm making lemon curd bars for mom's office."
"Lemon curd? What the hell is that?"
"It's like a creamy custardy jam thing, usually with egg yolks and sugar. It's really good on toast."
"Okay, no... that just sounds nasty. Why the hell would they call it curd? That's like all, booger-y"

Yes - my sister and I have the most mature dialogues, don't we?? Generally we wind up descending into some form of kindergarten-esque language and behaviour by the end of it, but really... that's the fun of it! You're only young once, really, but if you listen in on one of our conversations (especially if one or more of the cats are around to taunt / distract us) you'd swear that we were going around the track again.

So yes, I made lemon bars. But I did stray away from the "boogery" nature that the egg yolky / buttery filling can sometimes take on (not that I've done anything like curdle eggs... nooo, not me *looks around*) and went with a rather interesting vegan approach I discovered in The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. She uses one of my all-time favourite baking ingredients - silken tofu - to get the creamy texture just right. I wound up jazzing the citrus flavour up a good deal more (can you ever have too much lemon??) and since I added some extra lemon juice I tossed in some tapioca starch flour to help compensate. The crust was a crapshoot creation of mine (sounds familiar, doesn't it?) involving the combination of shortening and Earth Balance "Buttery" margarine to make a sturdy base with just a tiny crunch from some fine cornmeal. The contrast of textures and flavours - sweet and crunchy from the cookie/corn base, tart and smooth from the lemon/tofu filling - was incredible. My mom even chucked her "semi-detox" diet out the window for a corner piece the next day!

Vegan Lemon Bars
Serves 12
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup minus 2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp fine yellow cornmeal
6 oz low fat firm silken tofu
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of 3 lemons
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tbsp lemon extract
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp tapioca starch
2 tsp sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease an 8" pan and line with parchment paper.
  3. Cream margarine, shortening and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add flour and cornmeal, mix just until the dough comes together.
  5. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes and set aside to cool while preparing filling.
  6. Blend tofu until creamy.
  7. Add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract, pureeing completely.
  8. Pulse in flour and tapioca starch until well combined.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes in the prepared crust.
  10. Cool completely before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 181.2
Total Fat: 8.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 57.3 mg
Total Carbs: 25.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Protein: 2.2 g