Cashews are one of my favourite nuts to eat. (Well, they're all my favourites so, of course, that would make them one of my favourites.) I just love them roasted and salted as a snack food but that's not the only way cashew nuts can be used. Raw cashews are a super rich-tasting ingredient used in making plant-based creams and milks. You may recall they form the creamy sauce base of Selah's Vegan Macaroni and Cheese which is a delicious non-dairy version of the classic recipe.
Another wonderful ingredient that combines well with cashew nuts is coconut milk--that thick, rich, white, creamy stuff that comes in a can. Blended together they become one delicious creamy tropical delight that keeps it's shape and enables the cream to be plopped or piped on a dessert and keep it's shape. And, of course, the coconut milk gives the cashew cream such a wonderful coconutty taste. This cream is delicious as a topping or a dip with fresh fruit or a fruit salad. I love it on top of cereal as well.
And speaking of cereal, the thinned cream makes an excellent "milk" to top off your morning meal. Thin the cream using a ratio of 1 part cream to 3 or 4 parts water. You may have to add a little more sweetener or a dash of salt to the "milk" to bring out the flavour. I think you will be happily surprised at the consistency and taste and its resemblance to whole fresh dairy milk. It will be much richer than anything you can buy at the store.
Okay, go soak your cashews... Yes, right now so they'll be ready to blend by this evening or tomorrow morning.
Cashew Coconut Cream or Milk
1 cup raw cashews
3 cups water
1 can coconut milk, chilled overnight in the refrigerator
2 tablespoons sweetener (or to taste), such as honey, agave syrup, sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons lemon juice, optional
¼-½ cup water or coconut water as needed
Soak the cashews at least 4 hours or overnight is even better. Rinse and drain cashews and place in the container of a heavy duty blender or food processor. (The more powerful your blender the smoother the cream.)
Open the coconut milk and skim off the top cream leaving the liquid in the can. Add the thick top coconut milk to the blender along with the sweetener of choice, the vanilla and pinch of salt. Add the lemon juice if using. The lemon juice gives the cream a tangy flavour which I find very pleasing to the palate but it is not necessary.
Add a little of the water/coconut liquid and start blending on low/medium adding more water as needed to allow for easy blending. Stop the blender several times and push the contents down into the blades. When all the ingredients have been blended, increase speed to high and blend until smooth and creamy. Use only enough water to allow the blender to work as the more water you add the thinner the cream will be. But remember the cream will thicken when refrigerated.
Store cream in a covered container in the refrigerator. Use within 2 weeks.
Makes approximately 2 cups.
Cashew Coconut Milk
To make a delicious creamy milk, mix 1 part Cashew Coconut Cream with 3 to 4 parts water. Taste and adjust for sweetness, if desired. You may also need to add a dash of salt to bring out the flavour. Store in the refrigerator for no more than a few days. Use on cereal or as a beverage. This is like using full fat dairy milk.
Soak the raw cashew nuts in water at least 4 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain before using.
Refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight. The coconut milk separates in the can and the refrigeration makes it easier to remove the hardened cold coconut cream from the can. Scoop out the top layer of the creamy milk and drain off the juice. The juice can be used in place of the water in the recipe.
Place the soaked cashews, drained coconut milk, sweetener, salt, vanilla and lemon juice in the blender container.
Peeking down the blender cup.
Remove the Cashew Coconut Cream from the blender and store in the refrigerator in a covered container. The cream will thicken as it chills.
The cream can be thinned with water to make a delicious Cashew Coconut Milk. The milk makes a tasty addition to the breakfast cereal bowl. Pictured above is a bowl of hot oatmeal with chopped dates, Cashew Coconut Milk and melting Cashew Coconut Cream. So good. . .
Cashew Coconut Cream is rich and velvety thick.
So good I eat it by the spoonful!