Thursday, March 14, 2013

Daring Cooks - A Cheese of a Challenge

I was beyond thrilled to see the February Daring Cook's challenge -- homemade cheese!  And so I embarked on never-ending research on how to make the perfect feta.  And somewhere between  flipping through a beautiful cheese making book and waiting for the supplies to arrive, I stumbled upon a recipe for a Peppered Cashew "Goat Cheese” from C'est La Vegan. 

Although it took some time from the beginning to the end, it was easy to make and absolutely delicious.  I have to admit I ate the whole thing myself over the next several days. And then I got my "real cheese" supplies and... While they say that cheese is milk's leap toward immortality, my results were disastrousDays and 3 gallons of milk later, the homemade dairy cheese still remains a challenge. I will definitely try making the "real" cheese again.  Meanwhile, I am grateful for this challenge for an amazing discovery of delicious vegan cheese.

Sawsan from Chef in Disguise was our March 2013 Daring Cooks hostess! Sawsan challenges us to make our own homemade cheeses! She gave us a variety of choices to make, all of them easily accomplished and delicious!

Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese (adapted from Vegetarian Times)
makes 10 ounce log
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns or coarsely ground black pepper

Place cashews in large bowl; cover with 3 inches water. Soak overnight.

Drain liquid, rinse cashews under cold water, and drain again. Puree cashews, oil, lemon juice, salt and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor for 6 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.

Place strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon cashew mixture into cheesecloth. Fold sides of cloth over cheese, and form into 6-inch-long oval loaf. Twist ends of cloth and secure with rubber bands.  Set in strainer over bowl, and let stand 12 hours at room temperature. Discard excess liquid. Chill.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap cheese, and scrape into 7-inch-long log on cheesecloth. Rewrap, and twist ends to secure. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 35 minutes, or until cheese becomes set on outside but still soft, turning occasionally.

Cool, and chill. Unwrap cheese. Sprinkle with crushed peppercorns, pressing to adhere. Enjoy!


  1. Wow ... it looks like cheese, but it's dairyfree. Not that's an original take on the challenge, and one I need to try :-) Thanks for sharing and don't give up on the dairy : if you can get your hands on the right ingredients, your cheesemaking will go like a charm.

  2. This looks brilliant - I will be definitely trying it! I can't eat dairy, and good cheese substitutes are hard to find commercially. I made a coconut milk "cheddar" for my challenge which got me all excited because it melted properly - something that soya cheese never really does properly. Cashews are so versatile and a fantastic dairy free substitution - they make a really excellent 'cream' too by blending them with a little apple juice.