Monday, January 27, 2014

Dairy and Gluten-Free Treats: Creamy Coconut, Meyer Lemon and Thyme Bars with Cashew Crust

Creamy Coconut, Meyer Lemon and Thyme Bars
with Cashew Crust
My neighbor had a box out In front of her house the other day that said "FREE LEMONS." I just grabbed two bags without even looking inside. I got them home, opened them up, and to my surprise they were gorgeous, fragrant, hybrid Meyer lemons!

Meyer lemons are a mixture of lemon and either tangerine, mandarin orange or orange.  These are REALLY tart, so I'm guessing they're a tangerine hybrid.  The zest is super fragrant and orange-smelling though, so these beautiful dairy and wheat free treats have a beautiful mixture of flavors!  The fresh thyme gives them just a touch of winter depth, the coconut cream in the filling makes these rich, fluffy and dreamy!  If you're not a stevia fan, feel free to substitute with agave nectar.

Trader Joe's recently started carrying the Cashew Meal I used for the crust.  If you can't find it, Almond Meal would work just as well.  It is so decadent and delicious, I almost lost control and ate the crust by itself.  You've officially been warned!

Creamy Coconut, Meyer Lemon and Thyme Bars with Cashew Crust

Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cook Time: 40 minutes / Servings: 12 bars

Creamy Coconut, Meyer Lemon and
 Thyme Bars with Cashew Crust
  • 2 cups cashew or almond meal
  • 3 tsp. or 6 packets Stevia
  • 4 tbsp. coconut oil
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the cashew meal, Stevia and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk until combined.  Transfer to a food processor
  3. Add the coconut oil and pulse the food processor 5 or 6 times until a coarse, bulky texture is formed.
  4. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 12" baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • 6 tbsp. or 36 packets Stevia
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
  • zest and juice of 2 large Meyer lemons
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 5 medium sprigs of thyme
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Combine Stevia, dissolved corn starch, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg whites, eggs and coconut cream in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk until smooth and combined.  Transfer to a large suacepan.
  2. Add in the thyme springs and heat SLOWLY on low heat, whisking constantly against bottom, center and sides of pan to keep the custard from sticking to the pan.  Slowly increase the heat to medium, while continuing to whisk.  You want to raise the temperature of the eggs slowly, so they don't scramble.  Continue to heat and whisk until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove the custard from the heat, pour through a strainer and into the baking dish over the crust.  The strainer will remove the thyme sprigs, leaves, any cooked egg and some of the larger pieces of the lemon zest that may bitter the bars.
  4. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, just until the mixture is set in the center.  Allow to cool completely, about 2 hours or even overnight.
  5. TO SERVE:  Cut the bars into 12 equal pieces.  Place each bar on a serving dish and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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