Tangy, thick lemon filling is surrounded by a crisp shortbread crust and a creamy, whipped topping. Easy to cut into squares and serve for any occasion, this zesty yet sweet dessert is free of the top allergens. This gluten-free vegan lemon cream pie bar does not contain: gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanut or tree nuts; and is top-8-free.
Something about lemons just scream spring and summer to me. Perhaps it’s the vibrant colors, or perhaps it’s the wake-you-up-taste but lemon is in a league all its own in my books.
I have been craving lemon like crazy this pregnancy, so I was dreaming of lemon pie. However–I wanted something more shareable, and since bars are one of my favorite things I figured why not combine the two?
I have a go-to shortbread crust, and then it was just figuring out that darn filling. Most “true” lemon pies have egg yolks in them to help make them creamy. But since eggs are a no-go…I had to improvise.
I also wanted to make this a bit easier than scratch, so I thought I had found the solution when I went and bought Jello’s Bake & Serve Lemon Pudding. Since I had cracked the code on how to make their puddings with rice milk, I figured I’d do the same, but with the lemon flavoring instead.
I happily went home. When I went to make it, I went over the directions and to my dismay it STILL CALLED FOR EGGS. What the?? What’s instant about that? I was distraught! I was still caught in the same dilemma. (Goes to show you shouldn’t assume because one flavor is a certain way that you shouldn’t read the labels again!)
So, I decided to just risk it and make it anyways. It’s not like I was going to take two boxes of pudding back for a return. I added the sugar and cut the milk in half and prayed.
AND GUESS WHAT? It totally worked. Another allergy miracle!
The next part that I was worried about was the whipped cream cheese topping. If you’ve never worked with dairy-free cream cheese, let me tell you a little something–it’s a bit runnier and doesn’t hold up as well as the traditional cream cheese. So, thankfully by taking a little less of that and adding a little more powdered sugar I got the nice, thick topping I had been dreaming of. SO YUM!!!
It just goes to show a couple of things: 1.) Don’t stand in the way of a pregnant lady with a craving–she will figure it out! 2.) Experimenting is always worth it! Sure, I have fails, but I also have lots of delicious surprises.
This would be fabulous for Mother’s Day this weekend, or really any summer potluck.
I hope you enjoy these Gluten-free Vegan Lemon Cream Pie Bars as much as I have. I seriously haven’t been this excited about a dessert in awhile, and I really don’t think that’s just the pregnancy hormones talking!
Note: None of these products in the recipe are sponsored, but I’ve linked to them to help you look at their labels, or for ordering ease if you don’t have them in a store near year. All links are Amazon affiliates.
- SHORTBREAD CRUST:
- 1 and ½ cups gluten-free flour
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 10 Tablespoons of dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
- ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend already has xanthan)
- pinch of salt
- LEMON FILLING:
- 2 (2.9 oz.) boxes Cook & Serve Lemon Jell-0 pudding (*MUST be cook & serve, not instant)
- 3 cups rice milk (vanilla or plain will work)
- 1 cup sugar
- CREAM CHEESE WHIPPED TOPPING:
- 6 oz. dairy-free cream cheese (I used Tofutti, but I imagine Daiya would work just as well--FYI--tofutti has soy, daiya does not)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 (8 oz.) tub Coco Whip (you could make your own, but I find there's is lighter and fluffier)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a square 9x9 pan.
- In a stand mixer, put all of the dry ingredients for the shortbread crust and mix for one minute on slow to incorporate them all. Add the shortening and blend until the dough has come together. Using wet or greased hands, press the dough into the pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges have barely started to brown (if you overcook, the crust will be too hard). Take out the crust and allow it to cool completely.
- While the crust cools, make the lemon filling. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, put the two boxes of dry jello pudding mix, the cup of sugar and the rice milk. (ignore the box directions!) Warm until it's boiling and thickened, stirring constantly. Take it off the heat and allow it to cool. It will thicken slightly while it cools. If it thickens too much, which has happened to me, add more rice milk--one Tablespoon at a time until your desired consistency is reached.
- While the crust and filling continue to cool, make the topping. (Both can be hurried by putting them in the fridge.)
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, blend the dairy-free cream cheese and powdered sugar until they are mixed. With a spatula, fold in the coconut whipped cream. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Keep the topping in the fridge until you are ready to assemble.
- Once everything is cooled, spread the lemon filling on top of the crust. Then, spread the whipped topping on top of the lemon layer. Chill for at least 1 hour, to overnight (covered) for the best set up before serving.
- Keep chilled when you're not eating it.
DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT, SO YOU DON’T LOSE IT. ALSO, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MY OTHER ALLERGY-FRIENDLY PINTEREST BOARDS.
Looking for other lemon recipes? Try these: