I started making a vegan lemon pie years ago, while visiting my parents for the winter holidays. In November, their citrus trees start producing more fruit than my parents can use, so by December they’re giving fruit away by the bagful. And since my father has a big sweet-tooth (which E. and I have inherited), he’s always looking for ways to transform those lemons, oranges, and other citrus into sugary desserts.
One year, he wanted a lemon pie, and my parents, being the gracious hosts that they are, suggested that I make it for him. I guess it doesn’t sound so gracious when I put it that way, but what they really wanted was a vegan pie that all of us could enjoy. So I found a recipe for vegan lemon pie filling in the classic Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, and the rest is history.
But it’s a history that keeps evolving. The family citrus grove seems to produce more calamondins than any other fruit (calamondins are the little smaller-than-ping-pong-ball fruits that I wrote about here and which you can see here), so a few years ago, in an effort to do something with them, I started using them instead of lemons in the pie recipe. They’re a little less tart than lemons, so the pie has less of a bite, but they do have the advantage of having a very thin rind, so the peel can just be chopped up instead of zested. The only drawback is their size: I had to juice 18 of the tiny things just to get the juice for this one pie!
I developed a new crust for the pie this year, based on an oatmeal cookie recipe, and I really believe that this is the best fat-free pie crust that I’ve ever had. Similar to a graham cracker crust, it holds up well when sliced and has a nice crumb. Now, having said that, I’m going to warn you that it’s still a fat-free crust, so to people expecting a fat-free crust it will taste great, but to the general public it may taste a little strange. If you’re going to be making this pie for other people, you might want to consider using a traditional pastry or graham cracker crust, but if you’re limiting your fat or gluten intake, this is the crust for you!
Fat-Free Oatmeal Cookie Pie Crust
- 1/2 cup quick oats use gluten-free oats, if necessary
- 1/2 cup sorghum flour may use whole wheat flour or a mixture of unbleached and whole wheat
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons natural sugar
- 1/4 cup apple sauce
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil a 9-inch glass pie pan. (Recipe hasn't been tested in other baking pans or without oiling the pan; omit oil at your own risk.)
- Put the oats into a food processor or blender and process until finely ground. Add the remaining dry ingredients and blend well. Transfer to a bowl and add the apple sauce. Stir well until completely combined.
- Put the mixture into the pie pan, and starting at the center, flatten and press it with moistened fingers until it evenly covers the bottom and extends up the sides of the pan as far as possible.
- Put it in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes, until it it is crisp but not overdone. Set aside to cool before filling.
Nutritional info is approximate.
Calamondin or Lemon Pie Filling
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon agar agar powder or 1 more tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup soymilk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup calamondin or lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped calamondin rind
- Combine sugar, cornstarch, agar, and salt in a saucepan. Stir in the soymilk and water until completely combined. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. (Please do not leave it even for a minute or you may have lumps and burned pieces in your pie filling!)
- When it reaches a boil, turn the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and slowly stir in the calamondin juice and chopped rind. When well-mixed, pour into the pie crust. (If you have any extra, pour it into small bowls for a crust-free dessert.) Chill until set. May be served with vegan whipped topping, if you have any.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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JoyceApril 5, 2018 at 4:25 pm
I made this today. It is delicious and easy to make. Thank you for all your recipes.
S.S.December 3, 2018 at 6:44 pm
I tried out the pie crust with a chocolate mousse filling and it was amazing!!!!! It was so easy. Thank you for the recipe!!!
DianeJuly 1, 2019 at 6:34 am
This cookie crust is amazing and extremely versatile . . . My go to base for many recipes since it holds up so well even with cream or gelatin type desserts.
Monica ValenciaOctober 4, 2019 at 1:47 pm
I was worried that this pie crust was going to fall apart without any oil or butter in it. But no, it held up well and was perfect for my vegan banana cream pie. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!
Susan VoisinOctober 4, 2019 at 2:42 pm
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
AngieOctober 30, 2019 at 9:28 am
Hi, I’ve been looking for an oil-free, vegan pie crust for my sweet potato pie, and thought your pie crust recipe sounded delicious. The thing is, the pie takes about an hour to bake – and I’m wondering if this crust would last that long. What do you think?
Thanks for any assistance!
AngieOctober 30, 2019 at 9:39 am
No need to answer that question… I just found your Pumpkin Pie Bites (again), with the recipe for the oatmeal crust, which I think would work better (with the sweet potato pie). I’ll try that one! 🙂
Susan VoisinOctober 30, 2019 at 10:09 am
I’m glad you found it! J think that one would work better, too.
SusanDecember 9, 2019 at 3:53 pm
Hi Has anyone tried with with a sugar replacement such as honey?
YvetteDecember 14, 2019 at 7:09 pm
For the agar or cornstarch. If i just use cornstarch how much should I use?
Susan VoisinDecember 14, 2019 at 8:17 pm
Toy would use 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
Valerie ScraffordFebruary 6, 2020 at 7:54 pm
Susan, I have made this without oiling my glass pie plate. It came out perfectly with no sticking. All my omni friends loved the pie!
Susan VoisinFebruary 6, 2020 at 7:57 pm
Wonderful! I’m so glad to hear that!
AmeliaApril 15, 2020 at 12:42 pm
Do you think brown rice flour, oat flour, or garbanzo flour would work? Those are currently all I have on hand.
Susan VoisinApril 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm
I would try the rice or oat flour.
GinnyNovember 21, 2020 at 12:38 pm
Can this crust be used and bakes WITH a filling, such as an apple filling? Or do you have a suggestion of another crust for that?
Susan VoisinNovember 24, 2020 at 3:30 pm
If the filling is not super wet, it may work. With wet fillings, the oil-free crust might get soggy.
MintyNovember 26, 2020 at 5:08 am
Do you think i could use cocoa powder to make this crust chocolate?
I using it for a chocolate pie recipe and i need a chocolate crust.
Susan VoisinNovember 26, 2020 at 11:12 am
I think you could, but I haven’t tried it.
DianeDecember 22, 2020 at 1:43 am
Your lemon pie sounds so delicious. Can’t wait to try it.
Do you think I could use regular oats instead of quick oats in the crust?
Thanks! And Happy Holidays!!
Susan VoisinDecember 22, 2020 at 8:28 am
Yes, I think they’ll be fine. Happy holidays to you, too!
CristinaMay 25, 2021 at 11:47 am
Hi! There is any sustitution for the apple sauce? Thanks a lot
Susan VoisinMay 25, 2021 at 10:18 pm
I haven’t tried it with anything but apple sauce, but it’s possible you could use non-dairy yogurt.
DianeJune 14, 2021 at 12:20 pm
This recipe has been the most versatile oatmeal cookie/crust recipe ever. I have been making it for years ever since I discovered it. Looking for something to use as a base for desserts for my mother-in-law who CANNOT have even a hint of oil or fat added. I also make cookie bars for my husband and I by adding cinnamon, raisins and pecans with a drizzle of sugar glaze. I just love this recipe and it works every time. Today added chopped dried mango and plan on filling it with a no bake fat free filling of my own and top with fresh slice mango.
ZsuzsannaSeptember 2, 2021 at 9:51 am
Can i substitue limes for the lemons?
Susan VoisinSeptember 8, 2021 at 12:37 am
Yes, that should work.
ReginaldJuly 20, 2022 at 11:33 am
Is there a reason why you are using quick oats in a blender instead of oat flour?