200 grams raw, unsalted cashews
¼ cup + 3 Tablespoons water
¼ cup (60 mL) flax gel
1 Tablespoon (8 grams) minced yellow bell pepper
1 Tablespoon (6 grams) minced shallot
1 Tablespoon (2 grams) minced fresh tarragon, parsley or chives (optional)
⅛ teaspoon GI Pro Start yogurt starter
¼ cup (50 grams) deodorized cocoa butter, melted
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon (0.8 grams) Maldon salt (or regular salt)
1) Prepare the Flax Gel
Prepare the flax gel, cool and set aside.
2) Hydrate the cashews
Place the cashews in small saucepan, cover with water and simmer, covered on low heat for 15 minutes. Discard the water. The cashews must now be cooled enough so they can eventually be inoculated with fermentation microbes. Cool the cashews by stirring cold water into the cashews and discarding the water again. You may need to do this a couple times to ensure the cashews have adequately cooled to about room temperature.
3) Blend the cashews with the vegetables
Add the cashews, ½ cup + 3 Tablespoons water, bell pepper, shallot, herbs, if adding, and flax gel to a blender. Blend on the highest setting for 1 minute being extremely careful that the mixture doesn’t heat higher than 110F (43C). Going above about 120F (49C) will kill the yogurt starter as soon as it’s later added which will result in a cream cheese that doesn’t ferment. Use an instant read thermometer to verify temperature periodically to be safe. If you go over 110F (43C), place the blender container in the refrigerator with the lid off to cool back to closer to room temperature.
Scrape down the sides and blend for 1 additional minute. The cashew purée should now be smooth with no discernible particles. Place the blender container in the refrigerator and monitor the temperature until it’s below 100F (38C). Add the yogurt starter and quickly blend to just incorporate it.
4) Ferment the cream cheese
Evenly distribute the mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Place a plate on top and ferment the mixture at 115F (46C) for 12 hours.
Transfer the fermented cashew purée to a food processor, add the deodorized cocoa butter, sugar, salt and process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and process for 1 additional minute. Transfer the cream cheese to a container, cover and move it to the refrigerator for about 6 hours so it solidifies to the consistency of traditional cream cheese. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. This recipe makes about 1 cup Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese.