Heat the water, brown sugar and coconut sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. It is natural for clumps to form, but these will eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-coloured caramel as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the vegan spread. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. Slowly stir the vegan spread into the caramel until it is completed incorporated.
Add the sherry vinegar, stir and allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in the sea salt. Allow to slightly cool down before using. Set aside 1/3 of mixture to prepare the caramelised walnuts
Peel the shallots and cut into 1 inch round slices, discarding the ends.
In a separate frying pan add the vegetable oil and heat over a medium heat.
Place the shallots in on one of the flat surfaces and fry until golden. Remove from the heat and place the shallots on some kitchen towel to catch the grease.
In a cold oven proof frying pan add a thin layer of the caramel sauce, followed by a scattering of thyme leaves and cracked black pepper. Place the shallots coloured side down on top of the caramel to fill the surface of the pan.
Lay over the vegan puff pastry and cut around the side of the pan, press the pastry into the frying pan so there is no overhanging pastry.
Place in the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden brown. When removing form the oven remember the handle will be hot.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out.
For the Caramelised Walnuts:
Toast the Whitworth’s walnuts and caraway seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat until golden brown. Turn out onto a plate and allow to cool. Place the pan back on the heat.
Add one tbsp of the leftover caramel to the warm saucepan and back on the heat to melt.
Add the walnuts back to the pan and stir to coat with the caramel.
Once coated turn out onto a plate and allow to cool completely.
Serve with a freshly prepared salad and crumbled vegan cheese.