Monday, January 28, 2008

Daring Baker's Challenge #1 - Lemon Meringue Pie

I would definitely call this Daring Baker's Challenge a challenge in the gluten-free and sugar-free baking world!

I joined Daring Baker's in December, but the month was so crazy, I didn't get a chance to Daringly Bake until now!

So the challenge this month was to make a Lemon Meringue Pie. To be honest, as much as I love lemons... I'm not a big fan of lemon meringue pies! They are too tart for my taste and they always seem to get soggy! I don't like soggy pies!

The biggest challenge for me was that I was trying to make this pie sugar free! Gluten free was no problem! I converted the pastry recipe and it turned out an amazing crust! I'll actually share that recipe with you today... BUT the lemon filling just threw up once cut!

I thoughtfully pondered over what sweetener to use for the lemon filling. I did not want to use Splenda, as I don't like the after-taste, and I really think it is a migraine inducer. I also didn't want to use any other artificial sweeteners for the same reason. I thought about honey, but I was afraid the honey flavor might overpower the lemon. I thought about agave nectar, but I was afraid I would have to use a very large amount to attain the sweetness I desired.

I finally settled on using brown rice syrup. I had not used it before, but it's a great natural sweetener... for most things! The only thing I didn't like about the brown rice syrup was that it actually has over double the amount of calories of regular granulated sugar (and still highly affects blood sugar levels), so I knew it would significantly impact the overall calorie count, which I really didn't want to do... But I decided to try it to see what would happen with the pie overall.

Well, my friends... brown rice syrup just didn't do the trick. While the pie filling tasted pretty good, it threw up all over the place once cut! It simply didn't set. The pie was also quite tart for my taste.

BUT despite my mis-adventures in this pie making experience... my curiosity has overwhelmed me! Once Michael and I finish up this sugar free month, I really want to experiment with a homemade Chocolate Meringue pie!

Here is my dear friend Kristin, who miraculously enjoyed this un-pretty pie!
She ate every bite!


Ginger-Lemon Pastry/Tart/Pie Crust:

Dry Ingredients:
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Wet Ingredients:
3/4 cup frozen butter, grated
1/2 tsp. agave nectar
1 egg yolk
2-4 Tbsp. ice water
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. In another mix grated butter with egg yolk. Add dry ingredients a little at a time to egg yolk and butter. Mix vinegar with ice water. Add 2-4 Tbsp. ice water mixture to pastry mixture, just until dough begins to stick together and you can form a ball. Wrap ball in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes before using. Roll out at you would a normal pastry crust between two pieces of plastic wrap that have been dusted in sweet rice flour. Makes 1, 9" crust for a pie.

For a printer friendly version, click here.

**Sheltie Girl, over at Gluten Free A Go Go, did a fabulous job with her tart, and it is so creative! Check out her version of a Lemon Meringue Tart, complete with a gluten free recipe!

Pin It!


  1. Congrats on your first challenge!

  2. Congrats! The pie looks a lot like mine. bet it tasted great!

  3. Making a pie sugar free is difficult. Nonetheless, seems it came out great! Congrats on your first challenge!

  4. Congrats! I think your pie tasted delicious Ginger lemond Girl

  5. Carrie - Way to go on trying to make it sugar & gluten free! True Daring Baker's style you tackled a big challenge.

    Thank you for the kind comments about my tarts...I only got to eat a few as my husband was so thrilled with them they disappeared quickly.

    Just a thought about the filling, since liquid sweeteners don't act like sugar, maybe you could try adding a bit more cornstarch to help congeal the filling.

    Anyway...Great job and welcome to the DBers!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go
    aka "Sheltie Girl"

  6. Welcome to the Daring bakers! I'm sorry to hear that brown rice syrup didn't work with this recipe. How did you do with the sugar in the meringue?

  7. Ann, Mark, Tara, and Faery, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your comments and your support! I can't wait to see the challenge for next month!

    Natalie AKA Sheltie Girl! I'm so glad to do the Daring Baker's Challenges with you! I think it will be really fun to compare results and our gluten free versions! I was SO tempted to email you the day I was working on that pie! I wanted to hear immediately how yours was coming along!!

    Dagmar -- I love that pic of you and your cat! I love my kitties!! As far as the meringue (I'm glad you mentioned that, I meant to say something about it in the post), but I used agave nectar in the meringue, and it worked beautifully!

  8. Congratulations on your first DB challenge!

    I had trouble with the meringue but it was a lot of fun! Here's to many more cooking adventures with the DB-ers!

  9. Gluten-free sugar-free baking is truly daring! I've had terrible luck every time I try using artificial sweeteners in baked goods (usually to cut calories) so I definitely sympathize. But you did a great job, even if it was runny!

  10. Great Job and Congratulations on your first Daring Bakers Challenge!!
    You really did do amazing working with sugar free ingredients.

  11. Congratulations on your first challenge! I am glad to hear you came of it with a fantastic crust recipe.

  12. Congratulations Carrie! Beautiful looking crust that you can apply to so many things - you ought to have seen the horrible looking cardboard crusts for sale in my local bakeshop on the weekend.

  13. Even though your pie "threw up" it still looks appetizing! The only throw up that I would eat! :)

  14. Wow- that must have been quite a challenge, but you did it! Congratulations!

  15. Boy, I should have entered this contest- DH and I made Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie this week!

    Our prob was that the meringue separated from the curd. Doh. Tasted good, but we also decided meyer lemons were not the best for our recipe. *sigh* Oh well. The meringue part was yummy!


  16. I don't think I could go without sugar for a month!! I'm impressed!!

    And my dad's favorite pie is chocolate meringue. He gets one every year for his birthday!

  17. Congratulations on your first challenge! I too like brown rice syrup for many desserts. Have you tried agave nectar? You just need to reduce the water slightly when using liquid sweeteners. Good luck!

  18. congrats on your first DB challenge :)

  19. Yum! Mine turned out a bit runny too, but tasted great.

    Congratulations :)

  20. Your crust looks aweseome. I'm so glad you shared =)

  21. We must be super-daring bakers (I'm the vegan DB), setting ourselves up for even more grueling challenges than mere mortals can bear to face. (This is tongue-in-cheek, in case anyone thinks I'm serious!)

    If you dare to try these again, I'd suggest cutting down on the water, to compensate for the liquid sweetener. Anyway, kudos for trying!

    Jane of

  22. The gluten, dairy and sugar free among us never fail to amaze me with the way you handle each month's challenge. Heck, I have enough trouble with them *as-written*; I can't imagine trying to modify them the way you all do.

    I'm sorry the rice syrup didn't work well for you this month, but I thank you for trying and for sharing your experience.

  23. That crust looks great, nice to see someone departing from the old rice/tapioca/potato starch flours that wreck your blood sugar.

    I'm right behind you on your mission to get things as sugar free as possible and I think you deserve a little medal for pushing those daring baking boundaries!

  24. Wow! Ambitious girl trying to make the pie sugar-free... good for you! :)

  25. Can't wait to see how a chocolate meringue pie turns out!
    Good luck on the continued sugar free.

  26. I don't know if you can blame the rice syrup - lots of people ended up with lemon soup using regular ol' sugar - and it sounds like your tasters were pleased :)

  27. I can't wait to try this crust! Mine have been so horrible, that we've been eating the filling, and using the crust like a little cup. ;)

  28. Good job on your first challenge! I'm amazed at all the interesting substitutions that are out there. Somehow, I think that splenda may have actually worked here because of the extra tart from the lemons...maybe would have decreased the aftertaste...maybe!

  29. Congratulations on your first DB challenge!

  30. hi there., i just dropped into ur blog and saw your recipe and it looks delicious! and it looks healthy too..