Delicious, autumnal vegan apple crumble custard bars. Crisp, biscuity base with sauteed apples, vanilla custard and a buttery crumble topping. They're bonkers delicious!
It's the perfect combo of my two fave desserts: vegan apple crumble custard bars! I like to think these guys are what you'd get if you hulk smashed together an apple crumble and a vanilla custard slice.
They're a beautifully crisp, golden, spiced biscuit base with a layer of sauteed brown sugar apples, topped with vanilla custard and finally sprinkled with more crispy crumble topping. What could be better?? I could genuinely eat these all day long, so stick around to find out how to make em!
What makes em so GOOD!??
The short answer is me! I'M exclusively responsible for what makes these good. Because not only did I invent them, but I also invented the following things:
- apple crumble
- vanilla custard slices
- grape scented gel pens
Just kidding. What makes them so good is THAT TEXTURE BABY! They're the perfect balance between crisp, crumble biscuit base and topping, smooth velvety vanilla custard and perfectly cooked apples. Also, everyone knows that everything which can be sliced into neat little squares tastes better - don't fight me!
Vegan Apple Crumble Custard Bars in FOUR EASY STEPS!
What CAN'T you do in four steps?? These guys are easy! Just break em down into their constituent parts and you'll nail it! The full recipe, as always, is at the bottom of this page but here are a few tips you should know before you start!
1. Start with the Crumble!
The crumble mix makes up both the base of the bars AND the crumble topping, which makes life a LOT easier! My one tip is to use your hands as little as possible. The more you use your hands, the more you'll warm up the vegan butter which will result in a tough, not-very-crumbly crumble.
I like to use two knives or a pastry cutter to cut together the flour and the vegan butter. You can also use a food processor but be careful not to over process the mix.
Bake the base and crumble topping separately until golden brown and set aside to cool fully.
2. Prepare the Apple Layer
For the layer of sauteed apples, be sure to use baking apples. Bramley apples work great but you can also use granny smith or any particularly tart, firm apple. If you choose a tender, sweet apple you'll find they lose their shape too quickly and won't retain any acidity once cooked.
Also be sure to cool your cooked apples thoroughly.
3. Make the Vanilla Custard
To make the custard we need to heat it in two stages. The first stage we heat the oat milk, sugar and vanilla together in a saucepan. This allows the sugar to dissolve fully which helps to keep the custard super smooth and avoid a gritty mouthfeel. It also gives the vanilla time to infuse into the milk, which is particularly important if you're using fresh vanilla pods.
Next you're going to mix together the coconut milk and the corn flour before adding to the saucepan and cooking until thick. This again helps the custard to stay nice and smooth because the corn flour can be whisked into the coconut milk before hitting the hot oat milk. It also stops the corn flour from thickening too quickly which will also ruin the texture of the custard.
4. Assemble the Bars
Once everything is cooked and cooled, it's time to assemble!
Spread the apples over the crispy base, making sure they're evenly spread. Follow with the custard, making sure it's not hot when you pour or spoon it over. Spread the custard into a flat layer. Finally top with the crumble topping and place in the fridge to set completely.
Once set after a good 3-4 hours, remove from the fridge and slice into squares. I think you get a decent portion if you slice into 12 or 16 squares, but this is up to you.
It's that easy! You've got some DELIIICIOUS looking vegan apple crumble custard bars ready to scoff! Share em with your pals OR DONT! I don't care!
Need more DESSERT??
Then you came to the right place! Why not give these bad boys a try!?
Vegan Apple Crumble Custard Bars
For the Base and Crumble Topping
- 280 g plain white flour
- 100 g light brown sugar
- 225 g vegan butter ((refrigerated - the kind in a block, not margarine))
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
For the Sauteed Apples
- 500 g baking apples ((peeled and diced))
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 25 g vegan butter
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 25 g light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the Vanilla Custard Layer
- 500 ml oat milk
- 1.5 tablespoon vanilla bean paste ((or the seeds from one vanilla pod))
- 110 g caster sugar ((aka superfine sugar in the US))
- 500 ml full fat coconut milk
- 90 g corn flour ((aka cornstarch in the US))
- pinch turmeric powder
To Make the Base and Crumble Topping
- Preheat the oven to 170c. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Also, line a deep 25x30cm baking tin with baking parchment. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, place the base/crumble ingredients. Use a pastry cutter or two sharp knives to cut together the ingredients until you have a rough sandy texture.
- Place two thirds of the mixture into the deep baking tin. Using a flat object such as a spatula or dough scraper, flatten the mixture into one even layer.
- Place the remaining third of the mixture onto the lined baking tray and spread it out roughly. Place both baking trays in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove both trays from the oven and allow to cool fully. Meanwhile make the sauteed apples.
To Make the Sauteed Apples
- Place the peeled, cubed apples into a large frying pan and place over medium heat. Add a few tablespoon of water and cover with a lid. Allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the apples are starting to soften.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Allow to cook for a further few minutes but do not allow the apples to lose their shape.
- Remove the pan from the heat and spread the sauteed apples onto a plate and allow them to cool. Once cooled, chill the apples in the fridge until the base is ready.
To Make the Custard Layer
- Place the oat milk, vanilla bean paste and caster sugar in a medium saucepan. Place over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Do not allow the oat milk to boil.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the coconut milk, corn flour and turmeric. Whisk well.
- Pour the coconut milk mixture into the saucepan of oat milk mixture and whisk well immediately. With the saucepan still over low heat, keep whisking until the custard becomes very thick. If the custard is not thickening after around 8-10 minutes, turn the heat up slightly and persevere!
- Once the custard is thick, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool for few minutes.
To Assemble the Bars
- Spread the cooled, sauteed apples evenly across the base in the 25x30cm baking tin. Carefully pour the custard mixture over the apples and spread to create a flat surface with a spatula or pallet knife. Finally, crumble the topping over the custard layer.
- Allow to cool down to room temperature before chilling in the fridge for at least 3 hours. If you remove before this, you risk the bars not setting.
- Once fully chilled and set, remove the bars from the fridge. Carefully slice into 12 slices and serve.