Meyer Lemon Squares or The story of a healthy dessert that almost never was…
It’s not what you think!
I have NOT given up on the Whole30 thing… don’t worry.
This is a recipe that I made BEFORE I went on my Lent Challenge.
Last one before I go type of thing… you know!
I had seen the original on Lauren’s Cravings Gone Clean not long before and just HAD to take them for a spin before I would temporarily give up on these kinds of things.
I think I should’ve made them a week earlier though… I only got to eat 3 of these babies before Lent got in the way and I had to reluctantly give the rest of ’em to my daughter. Mind you, I think that she was real happy to be inheriting these yummy little beauties.
For yummy, they truly were!
Although I was not really convinced at first. To be honest, while I was in the process of making them, I thought they would turn out to be a total flop and that there was no way they would ever make it onto this blog.
Nothing, but absolutely nothing, was going according to plan.
For starters, I was completely out of 2 ingredients that I fully intended on using, namely flaxseed and chia seeds. Darn. How did THAT happen? I wasn’t even started and already had to go back to the ole drawing board. Great!
I must’ve drawn all crooked because the crust, which I originally intended to be somewhat grainy and crumbly, like any good graham crust should be, ended up being super sticky and somewhat “batter-y”… Still, I poured it in the pan, spread it out, put it in the oven and and thought: “Meh… we’ll see…”
Then I got busy working on the filling.
Again, it came out way more liquidy than I expected; so much so that if I had poured it over the crust right away, no doubt it would have made its way under it and would have looked like a total mess. GAH!
It did, however, taste really great; it just needed to firm up some. So I placed it in the fridge and thought: “Meh… we’ll see…”
1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours went by… the filling did get firmer, firm enough that it would actually stay OVER the crust, so I gave it a quick whisk to smooth it out and spread it evenly over the crust.
Hmpft. Wasn’t all that yummy looking, so I sprinkled a bit of shredded coconut on top to try and pretty it up, put it back in the fridge to set and again, thought: “Meh… we’ll see…”
Night came and I got impatient! I couldn’t wait until the next morning’s planned photo shoot to get a taste of them, so I decided to trim the sides, to make them nice and perfectly square, you know…
I found the crust to be a tad too hard and the filling didn’t seem to want to adhere to the crust. Bummer!
Yet, I put them back in the fridge and thought: “Meh… we’ll see…”
The next morning, I finally cut them into squares, took a bite and tought:
My eyes lit up! They were simply BRILLIANT!
It almost felt like I was eating lemon pie.
LEMON PIE!!! Oh, how I love that!
All that was missing was the meringue… that delicious creamy, light, warm and slightly crispy baked meringue.
And maybe a tad more lemon. I like my lemon pie to be real lemony.
Oh god. I almost cried.
The apparently jinxed little lemon squares turned out pretty darn good after all if you ask me. I’m so glad I persisted and never lost faith in them, cuz it really paid off in the end.
Now, I need to come up with a healthy lemon pie recipe, complete with meringue and all!
Healthy Meyer Lemon Squares
For the crust
For the filling
- 15 g 6 gelatin sheets (or 2 tbsp powdered gelatin)
- 1½ cups pure coconut water
- 2/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice, or regular lemons. I needed 4 lemons
- ½ cup buttermilk
- The zest of 4 Meyer lemons, or regular lemons
- 3 tbsp arrowroot flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 4 scoops vanilla flavored whey protein powder
For the crust
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Spray a 9” square baking pan with cooking spray and line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough extra to extend over the sides.
- Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of your food processor and process until broken down to a coarse grainy texture. Add wet ingredients and process until well combined.
- Pour into prepared baking pan and spread uniformly all the way to the sides to form a crust. The mixture will be rather sticky and hard to spread; To make the process easier, use a rubber spatula dipped in water.
- Bake this crust for 12-15 minutes, or until nice and golden brown; remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool.
For the filling
- Soak the sheets of gelatin in a bowl of icy cold water for 5-10 minutes, until soft (if using powdered, use ½ cup of the coconut water to bloom your gelatin)
- Meanwhile, add lemon zest, coconut flour, arrowroot flour and protein powder to the bowl of your food processor and give this a quick spin to combine. Reserve.
- Bring coconut water and lemon juice to a simmer; immediately remove from heat.
- Lift gelatin sheets from cold water bath and gently wring to remove excess water; add to hot liquid and stir until completely dissolved (if using powdered, add bloomed gelatin along with blooming liquid and stir until dissolved).
- Add buttermilk to flour mixture and process until well combined.
- While motor is turning, pour in lemon juice and gelatin mixture and again, process until well incorporated.
- Transfer that mixture to a large bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool until almost completely set but still on the soft side, about 3 hours.
- Give the lemon mixture a quick stir with a whisk to smooth it out and pour over reserved crust; Delicately spread the mixture all the way to the sides of the pan.
- Sprinkle unsweetened shredded coconut overtop and put this back in the refrigerator to set completely, at least 8 hours but preferably overnight.
- Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove from pan and cut into 9 individual squares. (or more if you want smaller bars)
- These squares will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.