Creams and sauces made from raw cashews are wonderful alternatives to dairy. Raw cashew nuts blended with vanilla, lemon and maple syrup create a sweet cashew cream sauce, and come very close to a Romanoff-style sauce. Blend them with roasted red peppers or cilantro for more savory sauces to use on pasta. Lately, with organic strawberries so well priced, I have been enjoying the sweet cream version on slices of berries, and as a topping for fruit galettes.
The Ingredient List
1 cup raw cashew nuts, soaked in water for up to 4 hours. (Since they are going in the blender buy pieces of nuts which are much cheaper than whole nuts)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup (I use 1 TBSP and spill over a few drops. I don’t like mine too sweet) Adjust for your taste.
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Again, start with 1/2 and adjust to your taste)
Pinch of sea salt
Water as needed for thinning. Fill 3/4 cup of water and add in one tablespoon at a time. I have used anywhere from 1/2 to the full 3/4 cup of water. You are looking for a smooth ribbon like texture resembling sour cream or very smooth yogurt.
The Preparation Method
1. Soak cashew pieces in water for four hours. If you are going to be out and about, and may not get back to them within four hours, place them in the refrigerator. I have left mine overnight in the refrigerator. They will be fine. I use a quart size Ball jar with a lid. Soaking cashews gives them a creamy texture. If they are not soaked the texture will be waxy. Always soak them. They will turn a bit grayish in color, and that’s okay.
2. After they have soaked, rinse them well in a strainer basket.
3. Put them in a high speed blender. I use Vitamix.
4. Add all of the ingredients. You will need the tamper to push the ingredients down as they blend. At this time, begin to add water in 1 tablespoon increments.
5. If the cream still needs thinning, continue with water in 1 tablespoon increments.
6. As it blends, you are looking for a smooth, ribbon-like texture, like sour cream.
7. Before you finish, taste. Adjust by adding more of anything you like; more maple if you like sweetness, more lemon if you like tartness, and more vanilla if that’s your thing. You could also add a pinch of himalayan salt. Salt enhances sweet flavors.
8. Store, refrigerated, in a glass container. It will keep for 3-4 days…if it lasts that long!
This is a very versatile topping. Use on fruit, granola, or fruit galettes.
Yield: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups. Double the recipe for larger servings.
Also published on Medium.