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.