Maria’s Recipes: Easy Cultured Vegan Cream Cheese

*Raw cashews (not salted or roasted) x 2 cups

*Coconut yoghurt (not flavoured with coconut, no dairy or sugar, made only with coconut milk and cultures) x 3 to 4 tablespoon’s

*Good pinch of salt

Optional ingredients to flavour after cheese is ready:

*Spring onion x 1, green part only, finely chopped and 1/3 teaspoon of white truffle oil to make a truffle and onion cream cheese.  Chives are also a good substitute for the spring onions.  A little curry powder for a curry flavoured cream cheese.  Add a pinch of smoked paprika and a little grated garlic for a Spanish style cream cheese.  Fresh dill and salt is a good combo too.

 

-Soak raw cashews in filtered water overnight.  Add enough water to cover cashews in a bowl.  Allow for swelling of cashews.

-Drain water from cashews and add to a high speed food processor with coconut yoghurt.

-Blend cashews and coconut yoghurt until all cashews are smooth like paste.  Add a little more yoghurt if needed to assist with blending.

-Add blended cashew/yoghurt mixture to a very clean and dry container (with a lid, but not air tight).  If using a glass container, sterilize first in the oven for 20 minutes and allow to cool.

-Put lid on container, wrap container in a clean cloth or tea towel and put away in a warm place.  A cupboard above your oven or stove is ok – or wrap in a few old towels and place in a cupboard away from doors and breezes.

-Each day, with a clean spoon, try a little of the cheese.  The tanginess should increase with time.  When it reaches the right amount of tanginess, it’s ready.  Depending on the season, it may take about 3 days to culture.  In warmer, humid climates, only 1 day.  There should be no mould present (this indicates contamination from unclean utensils or container).

-Add salt to taste and anything else you’d like to flavour the cheese.  A little white truffle oil and spring onions make a good combo.  Finely chopped chives or fresh dill on their own are fine too.

-After mixing in flavourings, store covered in the fridge.  Consume within 2 weeks.  As the cream cheese cools it will have less of a mousse-like texture and will firm-up resembling commercial cream cheese.  Spread on corn chips, toast or raw vegie crudités.


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