If you're looking for a bright, refreshing dessert that's also vegan-friendly, look no further than this lemon lush dessert recipe! With two separate layers of zingy lemon filling and a pillowy soft coconut whipped cream all nestled atop a crunchy cookie crust, this easy-to-make treat is a real crowd-pleaser.
The recipe card only is sponsored by Nature’s Charm. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who sponsor my work!
📖 Recipe Overview
- This recipe for lemon lush delight is easy enough for even kitchen novices. There are no complicated techniques involved, and you’ll only need to spend about 20 active minutes in the kitchen!
- The ingredient list is very short, requiring just 9 easy-to-find items.
- It’s bright, sweet-tart, and cheerful as can be!
- Lemon lasagna is an inclusive, allergy-friendly dessert that’s naturally free from eggs, dairy, nuts, and seeds. It can also easily be made gluten-free if needed!
🧾 Ingredients Needed
As promised, you only need a few simple ingredients to make this vegan recipe for lemon lush dessert:
- Golden Oreos - Feel free to swap in any vegan vanilla sandwich cookie or shortbread cookie of your choice.
- Vegan Cream Cheese - I love using homemade cream cheese, but you’re welcome to use your favorite store-bought brand.
- Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk - When it comes to plant-based sweetened condensed milk, Nature’s Charm is far and away my favorite. It can be used in a perfect cup-for-cup swap with any recipe that calls for regular sweetened condensed milk, but is entirely vegan-friendly!
- Lemons - You’ll want fresh lemons for this lemon dessert with cream cheese so you can use both the juice and zest for a double-whammy of bright, citrusy flavor.
- Powdered Sugar - If you’re fresh out, you can easily make your own using white sugar and cornstarch or potato starch.
- Cornstarch - For thickening the lemon curd. If corn is a no-no in your family, you can use an equal amount of tapioca starch or potato starch.
- Coconut Whipping Cream - Coconut cream, much like heavy whipping cream, can be aerated to stiff, cloud-like peaks of delicious fluff. While you *could* scrape the hard parts from the tops of several cans of full-fat coconut milk, I suggest you make life easier by reaching for a can of Nature’s Charm coconut whipping cream.
🥣 How To Make Lemon Lush Dessert
Step 1: Make the cookie crust. Blitz vanilla sandwich cookies, butter, and salt in a food processor until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it in your hands. Press into the base of an 8x8-inch baking dish and refrigerate until later.
Step 2: Whip butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
Step 3: Add lemon juice, lemon zest, condensed milk, and powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture and whip to combine.
Step 4: Blitz the lemon cream cheese filling in a food processor or high-powered blender until it is the texture of marshmallow fluff.
Step 5: Spread the lemony cream cheese mousse spread on top of the chilled cookie layer in the baking pan. Place in the refrigerator for an hour to set.
Step 6: Simmer lemon curd mixture. Whisk cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, and condensed milk together in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir constantly for 8-10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat.
Step 7: Whisk in vegan butter to complete the lemon curd. Set aside to chill for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Step 8: Pipe the chilled lemon curd neatly over the chilled lemony cheesecake filling. Return to the fridge for another hour to set up.
Step 9: Add the whipped coconut cream over the top of the chilled lemon curd, using the back of a spoon or offset spatula to smooth and swoosh it decoratively. Return to the fridge for another hour, or overnight.
Step 10: Garnish & Serve. Use a rasp to add a fresh layer of lemon zest to the top of the lemon lush lasagna. Crumble a few cookies and sprinkle them over the top. Slice into ___ pieces and enjoy!
🍋 Optional Variations
As much as I love this lemon lush lasagna, I want YOU to love it! Here are some possible variations to consider to make it your very own:
- Gluten-Free - Swap in your favorite GF vegan cookies to make this lemon cream cheese dessert safe for your celiac friends.
- Add Some Spice - Ginger and lemon are a match made in heaven. Consider using spicy ginger sandwich cookies for an added layer of sophisticated flavor.
- Or Add Some Berries - Adding a layer of raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries between the cream cheese and lemon curd filling adds a pop of color and a lovely, juicy flavor.
- Go Coconuts - Add shredded sweetened coconut to the cookie crust and add a layer of toasted coconut on top of the whipped cream for added texture and a tropical twist.
Lemon lush is a midwestern American dessert that consists of sweet-tart layers of cream cheese lemon mousse with lemon curd, fluffy coconut whipped cream, and a crunchy, salty-sweet vanilla cookie crust.
Essentially, it's a "dessert lasagna" that's absolutely ravishing on the plate. It's perfect for Easter, Mother's Day, picnics, BBQs, or any occasion where you want to add a little slice of sunshine to the menu. In this recipe, we've made a plant-based version so more folks can get in on the fun!
Yep! To freeze, first, cover the dish with plastic wrap, making sure it's tightly sealed. Then, cover the plastic wrap with a layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
When you're ready to enjoy the frozen lemon lush, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. (It's important to let it thaw slowly in the fridge to prevent the layers from separating or becoming watery.) Once it's completely thawed, you can serve it as usual, topped with whipped cream or fresh fruit if desired.
Note that freezing and thawing may affect the texture of the lemon lush, and it may not be as firm or creamy as when it's freshly made.
Lemon lush will keep in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container, for up to 3-4 days. Please note: if you're storing multiple pieces of lemon lush, avoid stacking them on top of each other as this can cause the layers to compress and become less distinct.
If you want to store lemon lush for a longer period, you can freeze it as I explained above for up to 2-3 months.
Lemon lush should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours, as it can promote bacterial growth and spoilage.
🍰 More Make-Ahead Desserts
- 200 g (1 ¼ cups) golden oreos, or other vegan cookies
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 60 g (0.26 cups) vegan butter, room temperature
Lemon Cream Cheese
- 500 g (2 cups) coconut whipping cream , I use Nature's Charm
- Make the crust: Lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8x8" dish with some oil. Add the cookies and salts to your food processor, and blitz for about 30 seconds until evenly finely ground. Add in the vegan butter and blend again until evenly combined and the mixture sticks together between your fingers.
- Press the cookie mixture into the base of the pan, and smooth it out with the back of a spoon, making sure it is compact. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the next layer.
- Lemon cream cheese: Add the softened vegan butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and whisk for 2-3 minutes until combined (don't worry if it appears a little split). Whisk in the condensed milk. Add the lemon zest and mix, followed by the powdered sugar, and whisk again.
- Add the lemon cream cheese mixture to a high-speed blender and blend on low power, stop and scrape down the edges as needed. The mixture will appear to be split at first, but once ready, it will become thick, smooth, and have a marshmallow-fluff consistency.
- Pipe or spoon the lemon cream cheese on top of the cookie crust, smooth it out with the back of a spoon and place it in the fridge to set for an hour.
- Lemon curd: Add the cornstarch and lemon juice to a saucepan and whisk until smooth. Add in the lemon zest and condensed milk and whisk again.
- Place the saucepan on medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat slightly to a gentle simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes, while constantly stirring and alternating with a rubber spatula and a whisk to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan. The mixture will thicken and should coat the back of the spatula.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vegan butter until completely incorporated and you have a smooth curd. Allow it to cool to room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Pipe or spoon the lemon curd on top of the cream cheese layer, smooth it out with the back of a spoon and place it in the fridge to set for another hour.
- Topping: Add the coconut whipping cream to a large mixing bowl and whisk for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy. Spoon the whipped cream on top of the lemon curd layer and smooth it out.Place in the fridge to set for another 1-2 hours (or overnight if preferred).
- Serving: Sprinkle crushed cookies and more freshly grated lemon zest on top. Slice into portions and serve. If it was in the fridge for a few hours, I recommend leaving it out at room temperature for an hour so that the layers get nice and fluffy!
- Storage: Lemon lush will keep in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, or placed in an airtight container, for up to 3-4 days. Please note: if you're storing multiple pieces of lemon lush, avoid stacking them on top of each other as this can cause the layers to compress and become less distinct.
- To freeze, first, cover the dish with plastic wrap, making sure it's tightly sealed. Then, cover the plastic wrap with a layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
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