This vegan caramel tart tray bake tastes just like the popular UK school dinner dessert! A flaky shortcrust pastry base that’s filled with thick caramel and topped with chocolate sprinkles.
If you loved my school dinner sprinkle cake, you’re going to love this one too!
I have been loving baking dairy-free and egg-free versions of the desserts I used to love so much at school.
My latest creation was this delicious vegan caramel tart with chocolate sprinkles!
It’s made up of a shortcrust pastry base and a layer of thick, gooey caramel. And it’s all topped off with some chocolate sprinkles.
So simple but so delicious!
Yes! You can make this caramel tart filling without condensed milk of any kind.
I recently dedicated a whole post to my quick and easy “cheat’s” vegan caramel that features in this recipe. So if you’d like some in-depth info on making a cheat’s caramel, go check that post out. But if not, let me quickly explain what it involves.
All you need to do it mix together cornstarch (cornflour), brown sugar, soy milk, vanilla and vegan butter. Pop it onto the stove for a few minutes and you’re done!
It really is that simple!
This caramel comes out super thick and spreadable and tastes surprisingly like condensed milk caramel (the one you can buy in a tin at supermarkets). It makes for such an impressive tray bake dessert, especially for how little effort it actually requires!
Check out my other vegan sweet pies and tart recipes!
How to make a vegan caramel tart
The first step is to make sure you have the correct baking tin to hand. I used a 9 x 12 x 2-inch rectangle tin.
You don’t need to line it as the shortcrust pastry will come right out after it’s baked, with no resistance at all.
The next step is to prepare your shortcrust pastry for the base.
To do this, add 300g (2 + 1/4 cup) of all-purpose flour to a bowl. Then add 180g (3/4 cup) vegan butter into the bowl and rub it into the flour until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.
Now add 2 tablespoons of cold water into the bowl and mix until it starts to stick together. Then use your hands to press it together into a firm dough.
Wrap or cover the dough and place it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 200°C/ 400°F (or 180°C/375°F if using a fan or convection oven).
Remove the dough from the fridge and lightly knead it to get rid of any cracks, being careful not to overwork it.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough in a rectangle shape until it’s around the same size as your baking tray. You can cut the edges using a knife if you don’t quite get a rectangle shape.
Place the dough into the tray then press it into the corners and sides, making sure it’s evenly spread.
Dock the dough in the baking tray by poking small holes into it using a fork. It’s best to do this over the whole bottom edge of your base.
Docking the dough prevents it from puffing up while baking and keeps it flat for adding the filling!
While the pastry is baking, you can start to prepare the caramel filling.
Measure out 3 tablespoons of cornstarch/cornflour, 375ml (1 + 1/2 cups) of soy milk, 120g (1/2 cup) of soft brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of vegan butter.
Mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of the soy milk and mix until there are no lumps left. Add that to the rest of the soy milk and mix again.
Add all of the soy milk to a small saucepan along with the rest of the ingredients. Turn the stove onto a very low heat.
Stir occasionally until the butter has completely melted. Then turn the heat up high and stir continuously until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat and let it cool for a bit.
Once your pastry base is baked, leave it to cool completely in the tin before pouring in the caramel filling.
Top with some (vegan) chocolate sprinkles and let it sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes.
Cut into slices and enjoy! Vegan caramel tart tastes lovely paired with hot custard or dairy-free whipped cream.
This is very common and happens because of the addition of cornstarch. It thickens as it cools and causes the caramel to separate or become lumpy.
Before you pour the caramel into the pastry base, give it a good mix to make it smooth again and this will solve the issue. Once it has set in the tart, it won’t separate again.
This tart is best stored at room temperature in an airtight container. You can also store it in the fridge if you’d prefer but the pastry will get soft a bit quicker.
If stored at room temperature, this recipe will last around 4 days.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing this one, sorry! The caramel filling doesn’t freeze too well and can make the pastry bottom a bit soggy as it defrosts.
I personally used ASDA choco sprinkles for this recipe as they contain no animal products. If you’re in the US or are unable to find the ones I used, Wholefoods have some vegan-friendly sprinkles as do PME, available on their UK website and Amazon US.
If you remember this tart from school, you’ll know how tasty it is served with warm custard. I am currently in the process of perfecting my own custard and hope to have it up on my blog very soon! (edit: my vegan custard recipe is now live!)
In the meantime, did you know that Bird’s custard powder is vegan-friendly? All you need to do is add some plant-based milk and some sugar and heat it up. So that’s always an option if you don’t want to make it from scratch.
And of course, you can always the ready-made vegan custards available these days such as Oatly and Alpro.
Aside from custard, this tart pairs really nicely with dairy-free whipped or pouring cream, and tastes just as incredible served alone!
I hope this recipe brings back a little nostalgia for you! If you enjoy it, please let me know by leaving a star rating below.
Happy baking! xo
A dairy-free twist on school dinner caramel tart with chocolate sprinkles. A nostalgic British classsic.
- 300 g All-purpose flour (2+¼ cups)
- 180g g Vegan butter (¾ cup)
- 2 Tablespoons Cold water
- 375 ml Soy milk (1+½ cups)
- 3 Tablespoons Cornflour (cornstarch)
- 120 g Soft brown sugar (½ cup, packed)
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
- 3 Tablespoons Vegan butter
- 2-3 Tablespoons Dairy-free chocolate sprinkles
Pour the flour into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour until you have a breadcrumb-like mixture.
Add the water and mix until it starts to stick together. Then use your hands to form a dough. Cover the dough and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C/375°F if using fan or convection oven) and have a 9 x 12 x 2-inch tin to hand.
Remove the dough from the fridge and lightly knead it to remove any cracks. Be careful not to overwork it as this will result in a tough pastry.
Roll the pastry out in a rectangle until it's the same size as your baking tin. Press it into the bottom and sides of your tin, making sure it's evenly distributed.
Dock the bottom of the base by poking small holes in it using a fork. This will prevent it from puffing up as it bakes.
Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown then leave it in the tin to cool completley.
Measure out all of the ingredients then mix the cornflour with 3 tablespoons of the soy milk until there are no lumps. Mix that with the rest of the soy milk and add it to a small saucepan with the rest of the ingredients.
Turn the heat on to low and stir occasionally until the vegan butter has melted. Then turn the heat up high and stir continuously until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. This should only take a minute or two after turning the heat up to high.
Remove the caramel from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Pour the caramel filling into your pastry base and use a spoon or spatula to spread it out evenly.
Top with chocolate sprinkles and place the tart in the fridge for around 1 hour.
Cut into slices and enjoy! Serve with warm custard or dairy-free whipped cream for an extra special treat.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- Note that while the caramel will hold firm enough to cut, it won’t set in the same way as traditional caramel.