I tried a Nanaimo bar in Canada last year for the first time and I realised that I needed to make my own version with a twist! These are vegan Nanaimo bar custard slices and they taste so much like the real thing.
They have chocolatey, coconut Digestive base, a custard filling and a chocolate almond topping. For more no-bake inspiration, be sure to see my vegan strawberry cheesecake bars.
What Are Nanaimo Bars?
Nanaimo bars are a traditional Canadian dessert named after the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island (British Columbia). They're made up of 3 layers. A coconut and nut base, a custard filling and a chocolate topping.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- The bars are filled with a thick layer of custard.
- They taste just like a non-vegan version.
- This recipe is super easy to follow.
- These slices are completely vegan and dairy free.
Important Ingredients Overview + Notes
- Digestives - These are for the base.
- Raw Cashews - Soak these overnight so that they become nice and soft. This will make it far easier to blend them when making the filling.
- Instant Custard Powder - I love to use Bird's custard powder in the U.K as it is accidentally vegan. It also gives the cheesecake filling a nice yellow colour.
- Vegan Double Cream - This will make the chocolate topping easier to slice as well as giving it a creamier taste.
How To Make Vegan Nanaimo Bar Custard Slices
For the full method and ingredient amounts, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
1: Line a 8-inch, square baking tin with parchment paper.
2: Make the base and press it into the lined tin.
3: Blend the cashews with water.
4: Add the remaining custard filling ingredients and blend again.
5: Pour the filling over the base and freeze.
6: Make the chocolate topping.
7: Remove the bars from the freezer. Thaw a little.
8: Pour the chocolate topping over the custard filling and top with flaked almonds. Set in the fridge.
Soaking The Cashews
I prefer to soak my cashews overnight. I leave them in water for roughly 8 hours and they become very soft. If you want to speed things up or you simply forgot, you can pour boiling water over them and let them soak for an hour.
Expert Tips & Tricks
Slice Into Thinner Bars
These bars are quite thick, so I suggest that you slice these into 16 or 20 bars instead of 8 or 12. It's certainly easier to eat them this way!
Don't Skip Soaking The Cashews
Hard cashews won't blend very well and you therefore, won't have a smooth filling. Always soak beforehand.
Yes, store them inside airtight containers and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Alternatively, you can store them in the fridge for a few days but if they become too soft for your liking, stick them back in the freezer.
As you will have soaked the cashews overnight they should be soft enough to blitz inside a regular, less-powerful blender. Regardless of the power of your blender, make sure that you use a large one as there are lots of ingredients in this recipe.
More Bar Recipes
Vegan Raspberry Crumble Oatmeal Bars
Vegan Red Velvet White Chocolate Sheet Cake BarsPrint
Vegan Nanaimo Bar Custard Slices (No-Bake + Gluten Free Option)
- Total Time: 5 Hours 15 Minutes
- Yield: 16 bars 1x
- Diet: Vegan
My vegan Nanaimo bar custard slices are creamy with a thick layer of custard in the centre. Be sure to check out this classic Canadian treat.
For the crust:
- 300g vegan Digestives or gluten free version (or Graham crackers, blitzed into crumbs)
- 180g vegan butter (melted)
- 60g desiccated coconut
- 2.5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
For the custard cheesecake filling:
- 300g raw unsalted cashews (soaked overnight)
- 120ml water
- 180g full fat coconut cream
- 30ml maple syrup
- 150g granulated sugar
- 80g instant custard powder (Bird’s is vegan in the UK)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 0.5 teaspoon almond extract
- 0.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
For the chocolate ganache topping:
- 150g vegan dark baking chocolate (chopped)
- 120ml vegan double cream
- Flaked almonds (to taste, optional)
- Line an 8-inch, square baking tin with parchment paper. Set aside.
Make the crust:
- Add the Digestives or Graham crackers to a high-speed blender or food processor. Blitz them until fine crumbs form.
- Transfer your crumbs to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the melted vegan butter, desiccated coconut, cocoa powder, granulated sugar and the salt until a crust mixture forms.
- Press the crust into the bottom of your prepared tin firmly with the flat bottom of a glass or your hands. Place it into the freezer to set while you make the custard cheesecake filling.
Make the filling:
- Add the soaked cashews and the water to a high-speed blender and blend for about 30-40 seconds to form a smooth mixture.
- Add the remaining filling ingredients to the blender and blend one more time for a further 60 seconds. No lumps should remain, and it will be easy to pour.
- Pour the custard filling over the crust, then place it into the freezer for 5 hours to set.
Make the chocolate ganache:
- Just before the cheesecake is ready to come out from the fridge, melt the chocolate using the double-boiling method (bain-marie). Once the chocolate has fully melted and is smooth, pour in the dairy free double cream. Stir until fully combined. Let it cool a little for a couple minutes.
Assemble the toppings:
- Take your Nanaimo bar cheesecake out from the freezer. Let the cheesecake thaw in its tin and come to room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
- While the thawed cheesecake is still inside the tin, pour over melted chocolate ganache mixture. Make sure that it is level and spread out thinly and evenly.
- Sprinkle the chopped and flaked almonds onto the top of the chocolate. Let the chocolate set a little inside the fridge for a further 5 minutes then remove the cheesecake from the tin. Slice and serve.
- Store in the fridge or back in the freezer as soon as possible as these will thaw quickly.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 hours
- Category: No-Bake
- Method: Freezing
- Cuisine: Nanaimo Bars
- Serving Size: 1 Bar
- Calories: 364
- Sugar: 14.6 g
- Sodium: 2972.3 mg
- Fat: 25.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 35.2 g
- Protein: 6.3 g
- Cholesterol: 17 mg
Keywords: nanaimo bar, no bake, vegan treats, vegan snacks, canadian food, vegan desserts
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