Low Carb Lemon Lush

Fantastic for potlucks and large parties, this low carb lemon lush is big enough to feed a crowd.

Lemon layered dessert with crumb base, cream cheese layer, lemon curd layer and whipped cream.

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I have told you before that I love a fantastic lemony dessert, the bright citrus flavors really wake-up my tastebuds. And lemon desserts, like this low carb lemon lush, would be the perfect refreshing end to warm weather .

What’s Lemon Lush? (Hint: it’s yummy )

Lemon lush is a layered dessert, a citrus variant if you will, of Chocolate Lasagna. Traditionally, its made with a buttery flour and pecan shortbread crust. A sweet layer of cream cheese pops in between the shortbread and tangy lemon sauce. A layer of whipped topping sits on top of the lemon pudding layer, completing the dessert.

While the conventional version of a lemon verdant is delicious, it is definitely not low carb and loaded. My low carb lemon lush is sugar-free and allows you to enjoy all the bright flavors and luscious textures of the conventional version with the carbs!

Rather than using sugar-laden processed ingredients, my low carb version uses predominately whole foods. The low carb shortbread crust is ready from almond flour and pecans rather than flour and butter. I replace the packed lemon pudding with a deliciously tangy homemade lemon curd. And that wants Cool Whip when homemade whipped cream is so easy to make?

NOTE: Preparing the lemon lush is not difficult but it does take a bit of time. Fortunately, it’s easy to prepare some steps ahead of time. I often prepare the lemon curd and the shortbread crust in advance. Then, assembly is very quick.

Low carb lemon lush layered dessert with pecans and lemons.

Building a lemon lush is easy, but it does take time. Most of the time is waiting for things to cool/chill. It can be made in one day, but you should begin early. I prefer doing the lemon curd and crust the night before.

The first step to creating this lemon dessert is preparing my favorite low carb lemon curd. It’s the same recipe I use in my low carb lemon curd pie and between cake layers. It is refreshing and so yummy that I jump at the chance to use it in different recipes.

A lemon curd is an egg based custard. My recipe is sweetened with erythritol and stevia instead of sugar. Making the curd is as simple as stirring ingredients together over low heat until thickened. It’s advisable to make the recipe ahead of time to give the lemon curd a opportunity to cool and set completely – at least 4 hours. 

A pecan shortbread crust is traditional. To assemble the crust, chop the pecans very finely. Then combine the finely chopped pecans using the protein powder, almond flour, and simmer in a small bowl. Next, pour melted butter over the ingredients and blend with a fork to make a moist crumbly mixture. Pour the crust mixture into a 9×13 pyrex dish, pressing firmly. Then bake and let it cool – about 30 minutes.

Once the crust is cool, make the whipped cream and cream cheese layers. To make the whipped cream, combine the whipped cream, vanilla, and simmer and beat with a hand mixer until stiff. Whip the cream cheese with a hand mixer . Then, whip 1/4 c of whipping cream into the cream cheese until light and fluffy. After the cream cheese is nice and fluffy, fold in 1 and 1/2 cups of the whipped cream and set the rest aside.

Lemon lush layered dessert with pecans on top.

All that’s left is building the dessert:

With all the parts ready to go, this dreamy citrus treat comes together in a couple of minutes. The shortbread crust makes the bottom layer of this lush and is about to go in the baking dish. Spread the cream cheese layer evenly on top of the shortbread crust, making sure to cover the entire crust layer. Next, whisk the lemon curd layer to loosen it up a little, then spoon it over the cream cheese layer. Lastly, top the lemon lush with a layer of light fluffy whipped cream.

You can serve the dessert right away, but it’s best when allowed to chill for many hours. I always suggest making in the morning to serve at night or prepare the day before. It retains beautifully in the fridge. For smaller occasions, halve the recipe and make within an 8×8 inch baking dish. Any leftover dessert freezes well.

Low Carb Lemon Lush Dessert

Layers of whipped cream, tart lemon curd, cream cheese and a pecan shortbread crust combine to create a lush, silky lemon dessert. Perfect for potlucks and huge parties, this low carb lemon lush is large enough to feed a crowd.

Lemon Curd (time: 20 minutes) (must be chilled at least 4 hours)

  • 1 recipe Lemon Curd ((chilled at least 4 hours))

Shortbread Crust (time: 30 minutes) (cool completely)

  • 2 cups fine almond flour
  • 3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup protein powder
  • 1/3 cup powdered sweetener ((Sukrin, Swerve or Lakanto))
  • 7 tbsp salted butter, melted

Cream Cheese Layer (time: 10 minutes)

  • 16 ounce cream cheese ((2 packs ))
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream ((2 fl oz))
  • 1/4 cup powdered sweetener ((Sukrin, Swerve or Lakanto))
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heavy whipping cream (divided use) (time: 10 minutes)

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp powdered sweetener
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum ((optional – stabilizes the whipped cream))

Assembly (about 10 minutes)

  1. NOTES: Although this recipe isn’t tough to make, it will take some time. I prefer making the lemon curd the night before and frightening overnight. I often make the crust the night before, too. This makes assembly very quickly the next day. The recipe keeps well in the fridge and can be made a couple of days ahead of serving. Additionally, it freezes well.

Preparation

  1. Prepare the lemon curd and let it cool completely before assembling the dessert, about 4 hours. This can be made a few days in advance. The shortbread crust is also great to make ahead.

    Preheat oven to 350 F. Chop the pecans very finely and combine with the remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl. Mix with a fork to make a moist crumbly mixture.

  2. Dump the ingredients into a 13×9 inch glass pyrex baking dish and lay a sheet of waxed paper over the mixture. Using your hands, then a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup, firmly press into the bottom of the pan. Remove the waxed paper and bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes depending on your oven. Cool completely.

    Whip the cream with the vanilla and sweeteners until stiff.

Cream Cheese Layer

  1. Whip the cream cheese with 1/4 heavy cream and sweetener until nice and light.

Lemon Curd Layer

  1. Whisk the lemon curd until loosened and gently spread over the cream cheese layer. Carefully, spread the remaining whipped cream over the lemon curd. Although you can serve immediately, it's best to refrigerate several hours to overnight.

  2. Serves 16 in 4.5 Net Carbs per serving.

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