September 19, 2012

Vegan Lemon Squares

 As Denise has already posted, for our monthly (and I use this term extremely loosely) baking session, we decided to make lemon squares! Not your regular lemon squares which involves eggs and butter, but a vegan version. I'm always up for a challenge, so after searching on the www. and driving around to pick up ingredients (hello, 7 for $1 lemons!) we got to it.

5 lemons

Denise on zesting duty! Check it out - no pith!

My monster hands crushing the life (juices) out of those zested lemons. The nail polish I'm wearing is Helena by Julep.

Juice, zest, tools and beautiful lemon carcasses. There they are, bright and cheery!

Short bread time. Flour, sugar and v.butter. Except we could only find tub v.butter aka. margarine as used the entire tub as per recipe!

It was a breeze to make, thanks to my KA mixer.

We pressed the dough into place and chilled it for about 10 minutes before putting it in a 350F oven for 15 minutes.

The un-cooked lemon curd mixture. Lemon juice, sugar, soy milk, flour and zest.
 We were loosing sunlight, so I didn't bother to take photos of the finished lemon curd or the baked crust. Basically, to make the curd, we got a pot of cold water, added agar agar powder to it, boiled it and added the liquid you see above. It thickened, we poured it on the crust and chilled it in the fridge until set. There's no baking the lemon curd in this recipe!

Finished product, naked.

Lemon squares, dressed with powdered sugar

They look good don't they?
 They look good don't they? Well, they weren't as good as they look. I'll be honest, some things just aren't meant to be veganized! I might try it again, using a different recipe...but it won't be for a while. There were several problems that contributed to it's unsatisfactory-ness.

  • The crust had a bit of an after taste. It wasn't just that I was missing the taste of butter (maybe I was), but there was almost a chemical taste in the shortbread. We used Becel vegan, which is a great substitute when not used in large quantities. Next time, vegan stick butter. 
  • The shortbread was slightly underbaked, or the water content in the margarine affected the dough making it too wet and as a result the cookie wasn't as tender as it should have been. 
  • The lemon curd, just wasn't a curd! It was more like a stiff jello. This was probably due to the agar agar. The final result wasn't creamy in the least, although it tasted wonderful- perfectly tart and sweet! So the texture was off, the taste was there. 

Due to the fact that it was more like a jello than a baked custard made with eggs, the squares ended up sweating whenever it was dusted with powdered sugar, leaving a melted wet mess behind. Totally unappetizing. Overall, this was a vegan baking fail! I ate a part of one square and couldn't eat anymore. Better luck next time!

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Hi, I'm Janetta from Toronto. I cook, bake and often veganize recipes. I photograph nearly everything and those photos will most likely end up being posted here. I've got a little black cat named Tank, who's really cute and a little bit nosy. You'll see a lot of photos of her too!

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