Dessert feels all the more decadent with a little cream so I thought I’d indulge myself and make my own. Armed with just cashew nuts, Medjool dates, water and a little vanilla essence I was good to go.
Cashew cream can take the place of whipped cream so isn’t just for vegans and dairy-free cooks, it is delicious enough for everyone to add it to their plate. Omit the dates, add your own seasonings and the savory version can add body to vegetable-based soups, act as a fingerlicious dressing for roasted vegetables or grain bowls, and can even act as a dip for raw vegetables or chips.
Cashew Cream: The Basics
Cashew cream requires no special skill, is incredibly easy to make and is so versitile. Only thing is you have to plan ahead as they need to be soaked.
Raw cashews are soaked in water for six hours or preferably overnight. The longer you soak cashews the creamier they will become. I sometimes cheat by soaking them in warm water, to speed up the process, and leave them to soak for an hour or two. Soaking pulls out the cashew’s phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, making the cream tastier and easier to digest.
If you know that you want sweetened cashew cream, throw a Medjool date or two into the overnight soak. If you don’t like dates you can always add Maple syrup later. After the cashews have soaked long enough (a properly soaked cashew should break apart when pressed between two fingers) discard the soaking liquid and rinse them under cold water, then blend with fresh water, Medjool dates (if sweetness is required) and a little salt.
The resulting cream should be silky-smooth, with a creamy consistency similar to yogurt. It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Cashew cream can be sweetened with a variety of sweeteners after blending. Try the sweetener of your choice I think maple syrup is a great option, although it leaves you with a maple-y flavour. Using Medjool dates is another option that gives you sweetness and leaves less of a distinctive taste.
Basic unsweetened cashew cream ideas
Cashew cream is versatile and as well as adding sweetener and pouring it over your apple pie, the basic recipe (minus sweetener) can be used in a number of other ways.
Here are a few ideas.
- Use it instead of butter on toast or as an alternative to mayonnaise
- Stir it into your morning porridge
- Add it to mash potatoes for a fingerlicious mash
- Add it to your morning smoothie
- Add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic and onion powder and you have a ricotta style sauce or you can use it as a vegan Caesar dressing
- Add your own flavouring and spices to create your own personalised cooking/dipping/spreading sauce