So, today I saw a post for vegan lemon bars. Lemon bars have to be one of my favorite desserts. I love tart and sweet. If you know me, you know I'm not one for recipes. I know baking involves measuring, but I figured I could get close enough. I didn't have any lemons, or graham crackers, or most of the ingredients the recipe called for. What I did have was limes and agar powder and some random other kitchen staples.
I made the crust with some ground up raw almonds and these oatmeal and banana cookies that my mom makes. We tried putting cocoa powder in them this time, but the chocolate flavor didn't really come through. I'll post more on these in another post.
I ended up using a good amount of coconut oil (probably too much) in the mixture to help make it stick together. I pressed it into a pie pan and put it in the oven.
I didn't take an after pic, but after about 15 minutes in the oven, the crust was bubbling. Pretty sure that's not supposed to happen. I took it out and let it sit while I mixed up the lemon curd part of the tart.
So lesson learned for the next attempt, less oil and maybe put some parchment and dried beans to keep it weighed down.
Moving on to the liquid curd part of the show...
I've used agar powder in the past to try to make some chocolate flan, I put too much and it was too dense. So this time, I would use less. The recipe I found online called for mixing the lemon juice with cornstarch and agar powder, so that's what I tried. I first zested all the limes, even though I only end up using a pinch and squeezing the juice of 4 normal sized limes. I think this made about 1/4 cup of juice. I then put that over a burner on low heat, added about a teaspoon of cornstarch, whisked until there were no lumps, then added what I think was about 2 tablespoons of agar powder. I then added the agave nectar. I was tasting as I went to get the right level of tart to sweetness. I turned off the heat and added about a cup of almond milk, tasting to make sure I didn't need to add more sweetness. I liked it, but my mom felt it was still too tart. I added a bit more artificial sweetener to bump the sweet.
I then poured this mixture over the still hot "crust", which started sizzling as I poured it in. I guess all the coconut oil was still really hot. Since the crust was still hot and liquidy, it just started mixing together. I tried letting it cool in the fridge, but I guess I didn't add enough agar powder to get it to firm up.
I ended up mixing it in with the "crust" mixture and put it back in the oven for about 20 minutes on low heat to let some of the water cook out in the hopes it would firm up more.
After that and letting it sit in the warm oven for a few hours until it completely came down to room temperature, I sorta had a sorta wiggly oatmeal lime coconut tart thingy. It wasn't' the prettiest thing to look at, but it tasted pretty good. It kinda tasted like a tart pina colada.
I'm gonna try this again. I think I got the flavors right, just not the construction. Next time, I'm going to try making the crust with almonds and uncooked oatmeal and try adding fresh ground coconut. I figure the little bit of fat from that will be enough to hold the shell together and add a little coconut flavor. I'll try to have the patience to make this a couple hours before, so it has proper time to cook and cool.
For the lime curd part, I just need to get the right amount of agar powder into it. I'll need to do some more research on this. I'll post again when I finally get this right.