I spent some time watching the Food Network channel a while back- as every vegan who has tried this knows, it is not a good place to get ideas for vegan cooking. An episode couldn’t go by without the words “prosciutto” and “mascarpone” being uttered, and the salty meat and creamy cheese being thrown into every dish available. While this didn’t inspire me to go out and make a truffle omlette with prosiutto and whipped mascarpone, it did get me thinking about the what I could do to make the richest, creamiest, softest, sweet vegan cheese. This cashew-based vegan mascarpone is the result of that challenge- it is creamy and rich, a little sweet and slightly sour. It is soft and spreadable, and an amazing accompaniment to bread, fruit, chocolate or wine.
Like many vegan cheeses, the key to firm and creamy texture is primarily time. The cashews first need to be soaked- for a minimum of 2 hours, although the cheese will be much more creamy if you are able to let them soak for an entire 12 hours. After the cheese is blended together, it now needs to sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours- although preferably another 12, to get the firm yet spreadable texture.
It is also important not to use too much moisture
Sweetened Vegan Cashew Mascarpone
- 1 cup of cashews
- 2 TBSP of coconut oil, melted
- 2 TBSP of lemon juice
- 1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar
- 1 TBSP of agave
- 1 TBSP of water
1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover completely with water. Allow to soak at room temperature for at least 2 hours (and up to 12, if you have the time).
2. Drain the water from the cashews and place in a blender, along with all the other ingredients. Blend until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides. You might also need to stir the mixture to remove air bubbles and allow it to keep on blending evenly. Try to avoid adding more liquid, but if you need to add an additional tablespoon of water to let the mixture blend.
3. Line a bowl or container with plastic wrap, and empty the blended cashews into it. Cover and place in the refrigerator, for 8-12 hours, until firm. Remove from the plastic wrap and serve.