We are pleased to share with you a recipe for a vegan cashew cheese from our friend, Áine Carlin, who says…

‘I’ve made quite a few cashew cheeses in my time but I’m fairly certain this one ranks at the tippity top. Whilst it’s not cultured, it does have that requisite cheesy tang with a Brie-like texture to-die-for. With so many dietary requirements to consider nowadays, this is a great recipe to have in your armour and is sure to wow your dairy-free friends - although I’d be very surprised if your non-vegan guests won’t be clambering to sample a piece too.’

200g cashews, soaked
Juice 1 small lemon
1/2 tbsp. good quality cider vinegar
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 heaped tsp. sea salt (plus more to taste)
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/2 tbsp. agave
200ml filtered water
2 rounded tbsp. tapioca starch

Place the cashews in a bowl, cover with filtered water and soak for at least 8hrs. Alternatively you can boil them for 30mins but the texture will be inferior.

Drain, rinse and add to a blender along with the water, lemon juice, cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, agave, salt and pepper. Blitz until completely smooth, scraping down the sides from time to time ... depending on your blender, this could take anything up to 15mins. The ultra-smooth consistency is crucial here so don’t rush this step and add a touch more water if necessary. Check for seasoning, it may require a little more salt etc.

Transfer the cashew cream to a pan and whisk in the tapioca starch until it has completely dispersed. Over a medium heat, continually fold/stir the mixture until it begins to thicken ... a spatula works best in my opinion. You should notice the texture go through several stages until it appears rubbery. If it begins to bubble or stick to the pan at any point, simply take it off the heat for a few seconds, whilst continuing to stir.

Ease the mixture, which should have come together in one, almost solid mass, into a lined Falcon Enamelware 12cm Bowl, gently easing it to the sides and smoothing with the back of a spoon or spatula. Tap firmly on the kitchen surface. Set aside to cool for about 30mins. Cover loosely with baking parchment, gently patting it down until it touches the cheese.

Refrigerate for at least 24hrs until completely firm. Remove the cheese from the mould by using the parchment to ease it out of the bowl. Peel away the top layer of parchment and place an upside-down Falcon Enamelware 14cm Sauce Dish on top. Holding the parchment to keep the cheese in place, flip the sauce dish and gently peel away the remaining parchment paper.

Serve as part of a platter alongside a selection of crackers, fruit, chutneys and pickles.