Vegan key lime pie

Vegan key lime pie

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Although I rarely hold out for pudding, key lime pie is my boyfriend's favourite sweet food, so with his birthday coming up I think this will be the perfect cake-like food to have on hand. I set out last week to make cheesecake, but didn't fancy re-creating a cheese taste just yet (I've yet to try vegan cheese properly... I guess my time will come...) so went with its bright and breezy Floridian cousin, which proved to be the perfect antidote to this seemingly endless January.

The recipe I've based this on is from Red Magazine (how did I even end up there I don't know!) although I changed a few ingredients and some of the method. The main difference is I could only find Agar flakes, so had to change the directions used by Red as it lists powder in the ingredients.

Also, as a note on Agar- it looked pretty daunting trying to cook with this gelatine replacement, especially as it was quite expensive. What makes it worse is that acid can change how well Agar works, so adding lime juice and zest to your pie mix isn't going to help it hold together! But the best thing to do is to just test the mixture by spooning a teaspoon amount on to a clean surface and letting it set for 2-3 minutes. If it forms a small blob that holds its shape, you're fine. If it is runnier than that, just sprinkle more flakes on the mix and whisk in.

** ALSO: this pie needs chill time! Start making at least 5 hours in advance to make sure it will be set properly.

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Makes enough for a 9 inch cake tin or pan, to serve around 8 slices.

Ingredients

For the base:

285g finely ground Hob nob biscuits (pretty much one pack minus one biscuit! Convenient, non?) 

3 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp melted vegan margarine or canola oil

1 tbsp soy or almond milk

 

For the filling:

360ml almond milk

2 tbsp tapioca flour or potato starch

3 tsp Agar powder or 4 tsp Agar flakes

400g can of coconut milk (full fat)

100g sugar

150ml fresh lime juice (juice of about 5 limes)

1 tbsp finely grated lime zest

1 tsp vanilla, either straight from the pod or extract.

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To start with the biscuit base, preheat the oven to 180 celsius, and lightly grease your chosen tray. I used one with a removable base so I could serve it straight off the try and not have to try and edge it out.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground biscuits with the sugar and pour over the margarine. Stir through so it's even, then add in the soy milk so it makes a crumbly dough. Pour the biscuit mix into the pie or cake tray. I prefer to just do the bottom of the pie, like a cheesecake style, but if you'd like pie sides too, start pressing in the sides of the tray first, then work your way to the bottom.  I find the back of a soup spoon works really well at getting an even surface.

Now bake in the oven for around 8 minutes until it just starts to go crisp and darker. The photo above has made the biscuit look darker than it actually was- take it out of the oven sooner than this colour!

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Once the pie base is out of the oven, allow to cool and get on with your filling. In a saucepan, mix together the almond milk, tapioca flour or potato starch, and Agar powder or flakes. Turn the heat up to a simmer and whisk constantly while continuing to simmer for about five minutes. You'll see it thicken like a roux sauce, so make sure the temperature doesn't go too high. 

After five minutes, begin to add the coconut milk a little at a time, whisking as you go. Then add the sugar, lime juice, and zest, and continue to heat, whisking often for about ten minutes. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla or vanilla extract.

Now would be a good time to test how well your mixture sets, so test a small amount on a plate or saucer and leave to set for 2-3 minutes. If it works then you're good to go! If not, just add a little more Agar and try again. 

When you're ready, pour the mix in to the pie tin and allow to stand for about 30 minutes so you're not putting it hot into the fridge. Once it's cooled a little, leave to chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, then garnish with lime slices or zest.

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