Often used as a replacement for dairy products in vegan foods, cashew cream is the creamy result of combining cashews and water in a blender. Cashew cream is simple to make and is often used in desserts or as a coffee creamer. Ideal for vegetarians, raw food enthusiasts, and lactose intolerant individuals, this cream works well both in cooked or baked recipes or as a chilled topping for treats.
Cashew cream uses only raw cashews. Other raw nuts or seeds, particularly almonds, may also be included in the cream. Although it is not often found in grocery stores, prepared cream can occasionally be found commercially, particularly in those stores which specialize in vegan or raw foods. It can also be ordered online.
To make cashew cream, the nuts are first rinsed, then placed in cold water and allowed to soak overnight. Alternatively, they can be boiled in either water or juice for a few hours before being cooled. Uncooked cashews do not have much flavor themselves, so depending on what the cream is used for, other flavorings, like juice, may be added.
Once the cashews have been soaked, they are rinsed again, then placed in a blender with fresh water, where they are blended until completely smooth. This process usually takes several minutes. Afterward, the cream may be strained to ensure any remaining cashew pieces are removed. The thickness of cashew cream is extremely variable, depending solely on the amount of water added to the blender. This technique makes a plain cream ideal for cooking.
If a more flavorful cream is desired, the cashews are often blended with fruit juice, sunflower or coconut oil, and vanilla. Some recipes may forgo the juice and oil, and rely solely on the vanilla to add flavoring. If fruit juice is used to boil the cashews, however, it is usually retained for use in the mixture.
Sugar, to taste, may be added to the mixture. Other spices, such as cinnamon or ginger, can also be included. Flavored cashew cream is most often used as a dessert topping or as a coffee creamer.
Cashew cream is richer than soy milk, a popular vegan dairy alternative. It also works better in cooking or baking, particularly in reductions, because it behaves more like milk or dairy cream. Unlike soy milk, cashew cream contains a lot of fat, which is what gives it its creamy texture. When heated, the water evaporates leaving the fat behind, just like dairy cream. Soy milk contains no fat, so this process does not occur.