Try this vegan key lime pie with coconut cream instead of eggs and sweetened condensed milk. It’s the perfect summer treat!
This recipe uses whipped coconut cream to attain a light, whipped-cream consistency. Nutritionally, there are benefits to using coconut cream instead of full-fat dairy products in baked goods. While both dairy and coconut are rich in fat and calories, coconut is high in fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
What’s the difference between coconut milk and coconut cream?
Coconut milk is made from crushing the pulp. You can make coconut milk by adding hot water to unsweetened dried coconut flakes or to coconut powder. Or you can just buy a can of full-fat coconut milk at the store.
Since the pulp is rich in fat and fat floats on water, a layer of cream will rise to the top as the coconut milk cools. This fat layer is called coconut cream. If you buy a can of full-fat coconut milk at the store, the coconut cream will be on top. A lot of recipes that use coconut cream call for chilling the coconut milk first so that the cream is solid and easily scooped away from the watery liquid underneath.
Why can’t I just use cream of coconut?
Even though cream of coconut sounds a lot like coconut cream, they are two totally different products. Cream of coconut is made from coconut cream that has been sweetened. It’s syrup-like and doesn’t whip into a cream. If it isn’t incorporated correctly, it will make your vegan key lime pie filling grainy and runny.
The white part on top is the coconut cream and it separates best when the coconut milk is chilled. Skim this part off of the coconut milk.
Whisk your coconut cream, corn starch, and sugar until it’s thick. I start with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and then watch it to see if it needs more. If the coconut cream isn’t thickening, I’ll add a half teaspoon of cornstarch at a time until it gets to a thicker consistency. Add in your lime zest, green food dye, and lime extract.
Most vegan key lime pie recipes call for lime juice. I skip the lime juice and go for lime extract. Whipped coconut cream is very delicate. It’s also mostly fat.
Lime juice is mostly water and acid, and if you’re not very careful, it could cause the fat and water to separate out of the coconut cream. I think it’s a lot easier to use a bit of lime extract, which contains lime oil and alcohol.
I used a gel food color, but I imagine that adding a water-based food color could also disrupt the cream.
Place your vegan cookie on the bottom and carefully spoon the filling into your ramekin. Place in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to chill and firm up. Serve cold.
- Crust :
- 4 Vegan Cookies
- 1.5 cups coconut cream
- Cornstarch (varies, start with 2 teaspoons)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lime extract
- Zest from 6 key limes (optional)
- 1 drop green food coloring (optional)
- Make coconut milk (skip this step if you purchase canned full-fat coconut milk). Add 240 g of coconut milk powder to 20 ounces of hot water. Whisk it together. Allow it to cool at room temperature, then transfer to the fridge. You will have some coconut cream rise to the top after just a couple of hours, but if you refrigerate it overnight you can skim it all off in one go.
- Skim off 1.5 cups of coconut cream. The coconut cream is white and it sits on top of the coconut milk. As you skim, you’ll see a clear, watery looking liquid underneath the white cream. Leave the water and try to just get the cream
- Whip it up! Add coconut cream, corn starch, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until thick. When you lift up the whisk, you’ll see stiff peaks in the bottom of your mixing bowl. I add a half teaspoon of cornstarch at a time and watch to see if it is thickening. The amount of cornstarch you need varies on how firm your coconut cream was before you started whipping it and also how much water got into the coconut cream during skimming.
- Add remaining ingredients. Continue whisking while adding in lime zest, lime extract, and food coloring
- Assemble ramekins. Place a cookie into the bottom of each ramekin. This will be your “crust.” Evenly divide the filling between the four ramekins. Top with lime zest and lime slices and place in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to chill. Serve cold.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn a small commission from links I recommend on other sites. Thank you for helping to support this blog! Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.