This versatile spread can be made either sweet or savory depending upon how you want to use it. I find I make it savory most of the time. I first made it to spread on an onion and seed bagel and it was great. Then I dropped a spoonful on top of pasta with a tomato sauce. It adds a cheesy, creamy flavor. With or without additional flavorings, it makes a good dip for cut-up vegetables. I have even added it to a tomato and olive pizza and in a calzone. I make some every week.
- One cup of raw cashews plus 2 cups of water
- One block of firm or extra-firm tofu, 14-16 oz.
- One-half cup of water
- Two tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar
- One and one-half teas. Kosher salt
- Dry or solid flavorings, up to 2-3 Tbsp.
- Liquid flavorings 2 Tbsp.
Soak cashews overnight in two cups of water. Alternatively, bring cashews and water to simmer in a saucepan. Remove from heat and allow nuts to soak in the water for an hour.
Drain and rinse the cashews and place in food processor. Add one-half cup of fresh water to the cashews (enough of come at least half way to the top of the cashews) and puree for 3-4 minutes, stopping at least twice to scrape the processor bowl. The pureed cashews should be like cream.
Take the tofu out of its container and cut into ½ inch slices with a spatula, lifting the each slice out of the container and laying it on several folded paper towels. Place several more folded paper towels on top and press firmly to extract at much water as possible from the tofu. Scoop the dried tofu into the processor bowl with the cashew cream and add the salt, lemon juice or vinegar and flavoring. Process the mixture at least two minutes or until very smooth.
For a savory flavor, add two to three tablespoons of (one or a combination of) chopped fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, dill, chives, minced garlic, and red pepper. I use vinegar for savory cream cheese.
For a sweet flavor add two tablespoons of honey or sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon and/or cardamom plus ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg. For sweet cream cheese I use lemon juice.
Transfer the cream cheese to a storage container and stir gently to remove air pockets. Cover with a close-fitting lid and refrigerate for a few hours until firm. Makes about three cups. (It keeps better if as little of it as possible is exposed to air so I use a quart-sized glass jar.) It should keep for 5-7 days. If you won’t be using this much cream cheese in a week, you can freeze half of it. Use it within a couple of weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator and stir gently before using.