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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lower Carb (and freezer friendly) Lemon Custard Pie

My husband adores lemon meringue pie, but I rather dislike meringue (making it as well as eating it, and it doesn't freeze well to boot).  Cool Whip is the absolute right answer to all meringue-associated problems.  Yes, it's cheating.  In case you haven't read any of my previous pie posts, I cheat at pies and do so with great celebration (I have all that extra time to celebrate, you see, since I don't spend any making homemade pastry or meringues). 

So, on request for a no-sugar version of lemon meringue pie, I give you Splenda lemon custard pie with sugar-free Cool Whip topping and nut crust.  Making the custard with splenda instead of sugar actually speeds the process up...sugar takes eons to melt and thicken properly, while the Splenda version took less than 5 minutes to achieve the proper thickness.  The flour and cornstarch still contribute carbs, but the result is much lower than what you would have with sugar.  You can, of course, use sugar, tbsp for tbsp, in place of Splenda.

Btw, for those playing at home, I saved 2 tbsp (ETA: needed 4 tbsp) of the almond grindings for a chicken wing recipe (Almond Sesame Wings) I'll make in a few days.  Put the "almond flour" in a small tupperware and stashed it in the fridge.  I like to plan ahead.

Low-Carb Lemon Custard Pie
Makes 2 10" pies (16 servings)

For the crusts:
4 1/2 cups unsalted almonds
6 tbsp splenda
6 egg whites (the yolks appear below)

For the custard:
6 tbsp cornstarch
6 tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups splenda
pinch of salt
3 cups water
6 egg yolks (from the whites above), whisked lightly
zest of 1 lemon (3-4 tsp)
1/4 cup butter
juice of 2 lemons (about 2/3 cup)

For the topping:
1 8 oz. container sugar-free Cool Whip, thawed in fridge

Grind the nuts and 6 tbsp splenda in a food processor, until the nuts are finely ground.  Stir in the egg whites, until thoroughly combined.  The mixture will be wet and pasty.  Divide the mixture in half, and press evenly into the bottoms and up the sides of 2 10" pie pans.  Bake at 375F for 10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned and dry.  Set aside to cool.

To make the custard, combine cornstarch, flour, salt and 3 cups splenda in a saucepan.  Slowly whisk in water.  Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  It will happen fast, so pay attention!  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 2 minutes. 
Before...thin and frothy
After...the whisk will leave trails in the proto-custard

Take off the heat.  Ladle 1 cup of the hot proto-custard into the egg, whisking constantly as you pour slowly.   Whisk until completely combined.  Then pour the egg-custard mixture slowly back into the big pot, whisking constantly.  Stir until completely combined. 

"Breathing" custard
Put this mixture back over medium heat.  When it "breathes" or boils gently, cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. 

Take it off the heat, and stir in the zest and butter.  When the butter is melted, stir in the lemon juice.  Stir until thoroughly incorporated.  Pour equally into the 2 cooled pie shells.

Put the pies in the fridge for about 10 minutes, until the custard is firm.  Spread 1/2 of the tub of Cool Whip on top of each pie.  Fridge or freeze, well-wrapped.

Nutritional info Pin It

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