Tuesday, January 25, 2011
My Pie Fears...
As I wrote this post, I realized this was a really long winded way for me to say I need to start tackling my fears more often and go down the path less traveled for me. I tend to err on the side of caution, but I am starting to realize that I am the one that holds me back. I am working on this and hopefully this year I will see some positive changes due to some risk taking! I would apologize for the length on this, but I imagine you are here because you want to be. So, let's talk lemon meringue pie...

It appears as though most of you are a little afraid to tackle making pies too. I went to culinary school and have made way fancier things than pies, but for some reason, they still kind of scare me. There is the whole crispy, soggy, wet, firm, flavor equation that has to all work out or it is a failure.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I am not much of a pie eater, unless we are talking pumpkin, coconut cream, banana cream, pecan, chocolate pudding, broken glass...well, maybe I thought I wasn't, but I think I may be? Anyway, here's a food fact about me...I don't like sweet lemon anything any more. Sadly, I used to. I made the fatal mistake of taking my colonoscopy prep meds with lemonade. Word of advice, don't do that prep with things you love. Anyway, now the taste of anything sweet lemon flavored gags me. However, I did try this lemon pie filling and I thought it was really good. In fact, I loved the hint of lemon with the thick creamy custard. The lemon in this is not knock you over lemon, but just enough to compliment the custard filling. I know you are probably wondering why I even made a lemon pie at all, but the illustrator loves them and the boys like lemon too. It can't always be about me, right?

I bought the stuff a while ago to try a few new things out and so with some time on my hands, while the illustrator worked on Sunday, I decided to make a treat for the boys. 

My mother-in-law is the pie maker in our family. I believe this pie plate was given to me from her stash! I wish she would have been here to try this pie since she loves lemon. I will definitely make this the next time my in-laws come here.

I have been researching gluten free flours for a while now. Everything I learned from school or practice has gone out the window when it comes to gluten free. Luckily, today was a great day for pastry in my kitchen. I put into thought the ratio of proteins, fats, binders and liquids to make this crust up. 

There is a method to these things, but the ratios and quantities you chose definitely impact the end product as far as texture and flavor go. 

In my opinion, gluten free pastries need to be a softer dough in order to give you a more tender and less dense end product. I blindly went into this whole thing without knowing if the edges would stay crimped or if the whole thing would even taste good.

This was a pretty big gamble since we couldn't even taste the dough until the pie was completed. Another tricky part of pie making is patience...yeah, I have non of that.

I took my basic recipe for a custard filling, added some lemon juice and zest. This was an egg free filling too, so it was a lot lighter than a heavy egg custard. It is also a little paler in color too, but I am alright with that.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Lemon Custard
(makes one 9 inch pie)

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups almond milk
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all of this together in a pot over medium low heat. Stir until the mixture becomes thick. When it has thickened, add...

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 TBSP lemon zest
2 TBSP Smart Balance Light
1 dropper Vanilla NuNaturals stevia (or 1 TBSP more sugar in the beginning)

Stir over medium low heat until everything is combined and thickened. Pour into prepared pie crust.

I wanted to make a marshmallowy topping and after talking with the illustrator, I decided to give my seven minute icing a try.

My biggest fear with this whole thing was that their would be too much liquid and that the topping would slide off. I decided to take the water out of my recipe (which I changed on the original page) since the humidity is so high here and I don't think it is necessary.

This made a perfect marshmallow topping! I totally get why people Love their bacon...I LOVE seven minute icing!

I knew the boys would like it if I toasted it up, so I figured I would have a little fun with the whole thing. I don't make big desserts normally, so this was all or nothing.

I had my arm in the oven the whole time rotating this around under the broiler for even browning. I think I still have some arm hairs left...I think.

This was the first slice, which is never the prettiest. I called the illustrator down to cut the thing because I was still scared I was going to mess it up.

He refused. He was afraid too and said it was my creation, I could have the "honor". 

It sliced no problem...thank goodness!

This is the slice from yesterday. The pie is gone. The filling set up, the crust was still crisp and the meringue held together without sliding off! That, really, is all a girl could ask for! Now, I need a chocolate pudding pie!

Are you a risk taker or do you stay on the safe side? I think there is a happy medium you can achieve with this and I am just getting there. I have a huge fear of letting people down and failing at things, but over the past few months, I have realized that I don't need to worry as much about what other people think. I need to do things for me and be happy with myself. I have also learned that the people that matter, will stick by you no matter what and even pick you up when you fall. Again, I know this is a heavier subject than pie, but I think through food. 

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 12:08 PM  
  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:16 PM, Blogger Christina said…

    clearly you had nothing to be afraid of! this pie is gorgeous!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:17 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    Holy cow - that topping looks to die for! My mom makes THE best lemon meringue pie - I don't dare try to replicate it. :)

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:20 PM, Anonymous Heather (Where's the Beach) said…

    I typically err on the side of caution and wish I could overcome that safety net mentality. I am so impressed that you made this GF pie. If I had not had an exact recipe, there is no way I would have attempted it. You seriously rock!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:20 PM, Anonymous Liz @ Tip Top Shape said…

    That pie looks awesome!! I may give it a try soon, but I may cheat and use a premade pie shell. Making my own scares me a bit!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:22 PM, Anonymous Jessica @ How Sweet said…

    Wow!! Your pie looks incredible!!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:29 PM, Blogger laura said…

    That is one gorgeous pie! You should be proud!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:32 PM, Blogger Emily said…

    Sarena, this was such a great post. We're so alike in that the fear of letting other people down or not being what they want me to be is very real. I have been working hard to overcome that fear and it is tough but definitely worth it - how else would we enjoy things like fun soccer games and amazing looking pies? :) Keep on working at it, you are most definitely worth it!!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:37 PM, Blogger Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said…


    I love that you don't use dairy, but you use eggs. Being allergic to dairy makes finding non-dairy, non-vegan recipes more difficult.

    Thank you for this.

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:38 PM, Anonymous Evan Thomas said…

    That filling sounds fantastic! I love that it's gluten-free and vegan. Do you think coconut flour would work in place of corn starch?

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:42 PM, Anonymous Estela @ Weekly Bite said…

    I love this! That pie looks AMAZING!! Like a pro did it :)

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This looks fabulous!

    I'm always up for trying something new which is good because my husband is forever saying, "I saw this ____ (fill in the blank with whatever random food concoction) and I think we should try to make it!" haha! Good stuff :)

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:50 PM, Blogger Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen said…

    Thanks everyone!

    Evan, no, I think coconut flour would be too grainy. I think you could use tapioca or arrowroot, but I have not tried it.

  • At January 25, 2011 at 12:55 PM, Anonymous Holly @ couchpotatoathlete said…

    I'm a big scaredy cat so I definitely don't take too many risks.

    The lemon pie is beautiful! I love the toasted top!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 1:14 PM, Anonymous Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun said…

    Mmmm broken glass pie. ;)

    Lemon meringue is one of my all time favorite pies. Delicious! Yours looks great too...and totally worth the sacrifice of the arm hairs.

  • At January 25, 2011 at 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I personally am enjoying you exploring recipes outside of your comfort zone... this looks PROFESSIONALLY GORGEOUS and oh so tasty! I really want to start researching GF flours and baking with different mediums than your standard whole wheat flour and oil (I am starting to realize I may have a bit of a gluten sensitivity myself!), but I've been scared of failure in the past too... you are an inspiration! :)

  • At January 25, 2011 at 1:29 PM, Anonymous MelissaNibbles said…

    I would totally take seven minute icing over bacon.

  • At January 25, 2011 at 1:37 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    no, I think you are pie maker my dear!! And I agree GF pastries need to be softer. This is fantastic!
    way to conquer that fear.

  • At January 25, 2011 at 1:53 PM, Anonymous Amy B @ Second City Randomness said…

    I have a few dishes with the same pattern, just in orange (inherited from my mom's 70's collection...)

    And I heart 7-minute icing! My mom would make it on very rare occasion, but it's delish!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 2:09 PM, Blogger Julie D said…

    Dairy-free pie? Wow! That looks great!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 4:02 PM, Anonymous Jess@Healthy Exposures said…

    Okay, first I have to say that your first paragraph caused me to have a sudden revelation about what I'm doing with my life, and your closing paragraph tied it all together. Oh yeah, and the pie looks just fantastic :P
    Really, though - thank you for the motivation to just get out there and do. I find myself getting too caught up in "what-ifs?" all too often, and always trying to make everybody happy even if it just can't be done. I've gotten better about the whole "caring too much about what people think" thing, now it's time to move on to just going for whatever I truly aspire to do and be :) It's true - those who care about us will really have our backs no matter what. And if they don't? Well, we're better off without them anyway. Thank you!!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg said…

    Ha, I do the same thing-- I say, "Oh, I'm not really a pie person"...but then I list about 25 flavors of pie that I love!!

    This looks, again, beautiful!!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 5:30 PM, Blogger Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said…

    Fat Albert jeans? Oh man.

    I hate thrift store regrets, which is probably why I end up buying stuff I'm not actually going to wear. It's so cheap, it's worth it to me, to not regret it later.

  • At January 25, 2011 at 7:32 PM, Blogger nicole said…

    I didn't know you went to culinary school! I don't make pies either. I take risks if it for myself, but stay safe if it's for other people!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 8:24 PM, Anonymous lee said…

    I love lemon merengue pie. It's my favorite kind, I think.

  • At January 25, 2011 at 9:05 PM, Anonymous Pure2raw twins said…

    Pie looks perfect! I worry sometimes too much about what others will think, but slowly getting better at doing my own thing and letting other things go :) A work in progress though.

  • At January 25, 2011 at 9:49 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    I'm a risk taker in my own way....but I have never made a pie. Some things are totally out of my comfort zone, and that's one of them.
    But I'm not sure why because I, too, have made more complex things.
    Hmmm...well, you did make it look pretty easy!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 11:36 PM, Blogger mom-b said…

    Love it! Dairy free, soy free, gluten free..... Almost egg free. I will def be trying this recipe... I understand now nerve-racking to be posting recipes and you feel kinda exposed.... Like, what if they don't like it or mess it up.
    I can't wait to try it!

  • At January 25, 2011 at 11:44 PM, Anonymous Kate (What Kate is Cooking) said…

    This is beautiful! I'm not a huge fan of sweet lemon, but I would totally make this.

  • At January 26, 2011 at 12:02 AM, Blogger LifeasKristina said…

    My grandma makes my dad a lemon meringue pie for his bday every year-i'm always the one who pulls part of the meringue off when I walk by and eat it-sooooo yummy! I would def be petrified of the slob kabob i'd create trying to make it!

  • At January 26, 2011 at 9:55 AM, Anonymous Ina said…

    Your pie looks wonderful? I love making GF pies and you are right, the dough does need to be softer. Did I miss the recipe for the pie crust? What flours and fats did you use? Incidentally, Bette Hagman has a wonderful Dream Pastry Recipe in her book The Gluten Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy - it is the one I always use - seriously, a no fail pastry.

  • At January 26, 2011 at 1:18 PM, Anonymous thehealthyapron said…

    OMG, great job on the pie! My Mother in law is also the pie maker...she is phenomenal and I think that is why literally everyone in the family strays awway from making pies! I would say since starting my blog last year I have become more risky in the kitchen!

  • At January 26, 2011 at 1:18 PM, Anonymous thehealthyapron said…

    OMG, great job on the pie! My Mother in law is also the pie maker...she is phenomenal and I think that is why literally everyone in the family strays awway from making pies! I would say since starting my blog last year I have become more risky in the kitchen!

  • At January 26, 2011 at 3:11 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I don't know if its just me, but in my experience it has been a lot more difficult for gluten-free recipes to turn out as well!

    And if anyone is interested, I found another website that has a lot of cool recipes and ways to live healthfully on it! http://www.draxe.com

  • At January 26, 2011 at 3:54 PM, Blogger blessedmama said…

    Who knew a pie story could be so riveting? I was held in suspense with each paragraph and subsequent photo, wondering if all would turn out right. And, it did! Now, I'm off to check out your link to your icing, which looked fabulous!

  • At January 26, 2011 at 8:25 PM, Blogger Simply Life said…

    very impressive! looks like the pie was an incredible success!

  • At January 28, 2011 at 4:44 PM, Blogger Ami "Mimi" Layton said…

    Sarena it came out beautiful! We'll take 2 this summer!

  • At May 12, 2011 at 3:38 PM, Anonymous BarbaraLW said…

    Lemon Pie is my FAVORITE!! I am gluten- and dairy-free and feared I would never have lemon pie again. My Mom's recipe is all about the butter! Would you share your pie crust recipe? Yours looks so much better than any of the GF crusts I have attempted so far. Thank you for the great recipe inspirations!!

  • At September 13, 2011 at 10:38 AM, Blogger Kirstan said…

    Okay, this sounds perfect for my hubby's bday dessert in two days. He LOVES lemon pie, but having a little girl who can't have dairy/egg/soy/gluten has changed things. Plan to make this, but I don't see how I can do your 7 minute icing egg free. Help!
    Kirstan in Colo

  • At March 14, 2013 at 4:55 PM, Blogger Bee said…

    This looks awesome and I am going to try it... but I would have loved if the pie crust recipe was there too!... :-/ An easy topping is just melting Fluff in the microwave enough so that it is pourable, it will harden again in the fridge... ;-)

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Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen
Home: Atlanta, GA, United States
About Me: Lactose Challenged
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