Wednesday, January 15, 2014
I have only recently discovered that the rumors are true–cashew cream is a mind-bogglingly amazing way to make “creamed” vegan dishes and desserts.
I mean on paper, it’s kind of insane
Soak some raw cashews in water for a while, drain them, whirl them in a blender with water and, like magic, there emerges a rich, creamy dare-I-say, decadent ingredient to act as anything from sour cream to heavy cream or half and half to milk in just about any recipe.
I’ve used cashew cream to make Vegan Creamed Kale and just used it in this Creamy Roasted Garlic and Artichoke soup. I have some mad plans for whipping up vegan alfredo sauce and mac & cheese, so stay tuned for those adventures.
A couple of tips on making and using cashew cream:
1. Know what you’re planning to use cashew cream as a replacement for in a recipe. If you’re replacing sour cream you’ll want to use less water in the blending step than you would if you’re using it to replace heavy cream or half and half. In general you’ll start with at least 1/2 cup of water to 1 cup of soaked cashews to start with the consistency of thick sour cream. Gradually add more water to attain desired consistency.
2. When you first taste the plain cashew cream, it does have a subtle cashew flavor. However, when you start adding other ingredients and you incorporate it into recipes, the cashew flavor is masked (more so in savory recipes or those that have a lot of ingredients). So, even if you’re not a fan of cashews, you should give this a try.
3. Once you have the base made, you can be creative with the flavors. Add lemon, a pinch of nutmeg and a bit of salt for a savory cream to use in creamed spinach. Add classic Italian spices, a bit of olive oil, lemon and nutritional yeast to mimic a mean vegan alfredo sauce. Craving something sweet? Add agave, honey or other favorite sweetener, some cinnamon, nutmeg, even cocoa to use as a base for a creamy topping for cake, fresh fruit, waffles or (if made a bit thicker) as a spread on scones.
4. If you’re cooking with the cashew cream (particularly in soup and sauces), be careful not to let it boil as it may cause the cream to ‘break’.
Already a fan (and frequent user of cashew cream)? Share some of your favorites!
servings: about 1 cup (used to substitute heavy cream) | time: about 3 hours
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
enough water to cover
1/2 cup water (or more, depending on intended use for the finished cream)
Optional ingredients: salt, lemon, spices, sweetener (all dependent on what you plan to use it for (savory or sweet))
1. Place the cashews in a glass bowl and add enough cold water to cover the cashews by at least an inch. Cover and let soak for at least 3 hours (preferably no more than 6)
2. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews
3. Place the cashews in a powerful blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup cold water and puree on high for a minute. Check the consistency and add more water as needed and puree to reach desired consistency
4. Use as a dairy substitute. Refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 4 days
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