The 2014 Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off: Pucker Up Lemon Squares (raw)

lemon squaresYesterday I participated in Toronto’s Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off! I entered in the raw category with an updated version of my original raw lemon squares. It was a really neat experience! I was there rather too early, the first non-professional on-site in fact. I’m both a busy bee but also an eager beaver, what can I say.

I’m hoping to post some photos later of the raw plate which included my lemon squares and the other items that I was up against. Here are the listings from my category:

Decadent Raw Desserts (Gluten-Free friendly, check ingredients carefully)

Title Description  
Pucker Up Raw Lemon Squares Tart, lip puckering, rich and creamy lemon perfection, all rolled into one delicious raw gluten free treat!
Raw Chocolate Lavender Cheesecake Rich and creamy chocolate cheesecake with a hint of local lavender – served on a chocolate brownie crust.
Raw Gluten Free Raw Sticky Zucchini Flax Cinnamon Buns, rolled in raw Carmel sauce and drizzled with raw cashew cream!!
Better Tarts A raw take on a canadian classic, that is better for you and better tasting!
Molten caramel brownie Fudge brownie, gooey caramel centre, sprinkle of sea salt…yum.

The plate was pretty monochromatic, as were a few of the plates in other categories, so my lemon squares really popped! I used extra tumeric for more colour this time around, and I also added a lemon drizzle (coconut butter, lemon, stevia) to use as “glue” to stick on some sour lemon flakes made with dehydrated lemon for some extra texture. I was thrilled with how they came out, and all of the feedback I received was very positive. Maybe too positive, since it made me overly hopeful that I might win in my category which I didn’t, but that’s ok. It was still a nice day.

Old Recipe: Original Raw Lemon Squares

New Recipe: Totally Fabulous Raw Lemon Squares

Filling:

  • 5 cups of dried, unsweetened coconut.  butter (approximately one jar or about 4.5 cups of fine dehydrated coconut converted in to coconut butter)
  • 2-4 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 10 lemons, zested first, then squeezed
  • 1/3 cup of lucuma powder (optional)
  • Stevia Powder to taste – I like NOW brand
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric (for colour, optional)
Crust:
  • 1 cup of raw cashews
  • 1 cup of raw coconut flour
  • aprox. .5 cup of dates (use more as needed)

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS: **Your food processor must be completely dry for this to work, and all ingredients should be at room temperature before proceeding.

  1. Blitz the dried coconut and 2 tbsp of coconut oil in the food processor to make coconut butter. This can take several minutes. Stop and scrape the sides of the sides of the food processor often. If after 5 minutes your mixture is still dry, add more coconut oil as needed.
  2. Once you’ve made a completely smooth butter, add the lemon zest. Blend.
  3. Add the lucuma. Blend.
  4. Add the lemon juice. Blend.
  5. The stevia that I use comes with a tiny little spoon inside the jar. Add 2 of the tiny spoonfuls, or just a small pinch of stevia and blend and taste often. Adding only a small amount at a time, add more of the stevia as needed adjusting to your palette.
  6. Add the tumeric. Blend.
  7. Pour contents in to a bowl and set aside on the counter (not the fridge) while you continue on to make your crust. 
  8. When working in this order, there is no need to clean the food processor. Blitz cashews in the food processor until they start to form a crumb. 
  9. Add the coconut flour and approximately 6 dates and start the food processor going, adding more dates until the mixture starts to seem slightly sticky. Stop the food processor and smoosh some of the mixture together with your fingers from time to time and when the mixture starts to stick together, it’s ready.
  10. Line a pan with parchment paper, or oil and dust with coconut flour before pressing the crust in to the form.
  11. Once you’ve pressed the crust in to a pan, scoop the filling in to the pan and smooth it out with a spatula. Place it in the freezer for at least one hour before cutting and serving. I like to make this the night before and thaw it out the next day for serving.

The Raw Chocolate Lavender Cheesecake that won was really lovely. It was both aesthetically nice, and very tasty. For me, chocolate does tend to be chocolate and can get repetitive, but the addition of the lavender added some interest and the texture in particular of the creamy chocolate in the middle was very nice.

I’d also like to note that the texture of the crust for the raw butter tarts was really impressive. I wanted to ask the fellow who made them about what he used but didn’t have the chance. I really know a lot of raw desserts at this point so it takes something to impress me and make me wonder, so actually, for me the crust of those butter tarts was the most interesting thing on the raw plate. I think that if his filling (probably made with date) had a little more of a caramel edge to it, maybe with some lucuma and a touch of yacon and mesquite, he could have been the winner.

4bakersI competed as part of Team Lindy Hop with Kris Light and her P.B. Phone Home squares, Ashley Bratty with her Snickerdoodle Sandwich Spectacular/Snickerdoodles Marsala and Heather O’Shea with her Jazzberry Lemon Cupcakes. I have to admit that all of these desserts (including my own) were so yummy that early on I thought it might be a clean sweep for our entire category. Everything was delicious, but unfortunately Kris and I stood aside to cheer on the 2 winners on our team, Heather and Ashley. Heather even won Best in Show for her cupcakes! You can read more about her entry on her blog here.

This was a really neat experience. I hope to snag some more photos to post soon.

Oh, and my lemon square display made it in to this photo gallery from BlogTO.