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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Vegan Blueberry - Lemon Bars




The harvest fruit is just pouring in these days, and the blueberries, sad to say, have pretty much reached the end of their season (thanks also to the little flocks of birds who make daily forays to the bush before and after I arrive).

This yummy vegan dessert is a fruit swap for a recipe using strawberries (link below BLUEBERRY-LEMON BAR recipe).  I don't have any strawberries on hand, but I did have all the other ingredients + blueberries, so....

There is a magic ingredient that allows this vegan recipe to look and taste like a lemon bar made with eggs.  Well, maybe 2 magic (that is, unusual) ingredients depending on how hip you are in your vegan subbing and general gourmet exploration of the vegan life.

Also, if you are suffering from diabetes and/or are obese and want to lose weight the healthy way, you might be interested in the excellent free online series of videos starting Tuesday July 30th with many of the inspiring Forks Over Knives physicians and scientists making speaking appearances.  Vegan physicians.  You can find out more and link to the video series by taking this 45-second quiz to see how your personality either helps or/and hinders your weight-loss plan. Click>>>


RECIPE FOR VEGAN BLUEBERRY- LEMON BARS


TOOLS and MATERIALS 


*8" x 8" square pan-- the original recipe author insists on this!  9"x9" is too big.  Won't work!

*Parchment Paper to line the pan 

*Lemon Squeezer.  I use an electric one that keeps the seeds from dropping through (see below) but any kind of squeezing apparatus is fine (the electric one is also very fast and preferable for anyone who has wrist problems, arthritis, etc.)

*Food Processor and/or Blender-- Food Processor is easier to get into but the blender does a smoother job for the fruit portion of the recipe.

*Large-ish mixing bowl

*Large-ish pot/pan for cooking the sauce

*Steamer or Steamer Basket for Magic Ingredient #1

*Fridge/Freezer-- don't think this will work if you are camping.


INGREDIENTS:

CRUST:
(This is the most delish vegan shortbread crust I have come across)


  • 1 C.    Oat Flour (use GF Oat Flour if you want to keep this Gluten Free)
  • 1/4 C. Coconut Flour
  • 1/4 C. Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 C. Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1/4 C. Maple Syrup (the real stuff, not the pancake take-off)
  • 1 tsp.  Almond Extract (or Vanilla)
=== Go ahead and make the crust since it will need to be cool before you add the filling!  Preheat the oven to 350F/177C.  Line the 8"x8" pan with parchment paper (important).

  1. In the large bowl whisk all the dry ingredients together: oat flour, coconut flour, salt.
  2. Stir in the 'wet' ingredients: Melted Coconut Oil, Maple Syrup, Almond Extract
  3. Stir well.
  4. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir dough a couple of times-- it should be soft and slightly spongy.
  6. Spoon the dough into the lined pan.  I began pressing it down uniformly from the middle of the pan until it covered evenly from corner to corner.
  7. Prick in several places with a fork.
  8. Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until the edges are beginning to tan ("barely golden").  The crust should be softly set but not yet crisp.  Let it cool completely in the pan.  Go ahead and prepare the filling.
BLUEBERRY-LEMON FILLING:
  • MAGIC INGREDIENT #1: 1 C. peeled, small-cubed (1/3" cubes) Yukon Gold potato (about 1 medium potato)
  • 1 C.   fresh  OR  frozen blueberries, thawed
  • 3/4 C. fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice (3 - 3 1/2 juicy lemons)
  • 2 T.    arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 C.  Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1/4  C.+ 1 T. Maple Syrup
  • 2 T.      Almond Extract (or Vanilla)
  • MAGIC INGREDIENT #2:  1/4 tsp. Hawaiian Black Lava Salt ("Kala Namak") which has a slight sulphur undertaste that will make the filling have a somewhat egg-y taste (or just use fine sea salt)
===I'm keeping to the original author's instructions for the filling:
  • Make sure you have exactly a cup-full of potato cubes, no more, no less, and steam until fork-tender. Avoid steaming in the Microwave.  I steamed in my Instant Pot set for 10 minutes, but the author recommends using a steamer or steamer basket for 20 - 25 minutes
  • Put the blueberries in the blender or food processor and process until pureed.
  • Let the potato cool a bit, and add it, lemon juice, arrowroot starch, coconut oil, maple syrup, almond extract and black salt to the carafe of the blender or food processor, and run for about 3 - 5 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.  It should be slightly thickening and smooth.
  • Transfer the blueberry filling to the large saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat until the filling thickens-- this happens fairly quickly, so be careful not to overheat or to leave the stove for more than a couple of seconds.
  • Pour the filling carefully over the crust-- for me, it just all slid into place, but you might need to spread it with a spatula.  
  • Loosely cover the pan (I used a spare piece of parchment paper) and put the pan into the freezer for 3 hours (to speed up the process) OR just place in the refrigerator to set if you are not in a big hurry.  After placing it in the freezer, (for the sped-up version) put it in the fridge.  It will firm up and set the longer it is in the fridge.  
  • When you feel that it is sufficiently dense in texture, gently remove the bar from the pan and set on a cutting board.  Cut into 16 equal sized (small) pieces.
  • Return the bars to the pan and the fridge until ready to serve.  Leftovers (haha) will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
=== Enjoy!  Ashley's original strawberry-lemonade bar recipe is found HERE.

Here is the handy-dandy electric Black and Decker lemon juicer that I use:














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