Cashew Mascarpone with Smoked Sundried Tomato Pesto
by Toni Fiore author the VegEZ Video Cookbook
Serves 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes Refrigerate for 24 hours
This delivers all the creamy decadence of cheese without any of the downsides. Assembled in minutes and needing only to rest overnight this smooth and flavorful spread is enhanced by a beautiful intense sun dried tomato pesto center. You can adjust the texture and herby flavors to suit your palate. This cheese freezes well so you can serve dairy free cheese on short notice!
For the Tomato Pesto:
6 oven or sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 garlic clove
Handful of fresh basil
1 tablespoon of finely minced fresh basil, divided in half
1 to 2 tablespoons oil from tomatoes or olive oil
1 to 2 drops liquid smoke (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh mixed herbs (dill and chives) for lining the ramekin and for garnish
For the Cheese:
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 to 3 hours, drained
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons water (or a bit more, if needed)
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
1 teaspoon coconut (or raw apple cider) vinegar
Pinch of salt
1. Place tomato pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined with a light texture. Set aside.
2. Line a small, lightly-oiled ramekin with plastic wrap or cheesecloth. Sprinkle half of the minced basil, a sprinkle of mixed herbs and freshly ground black pepper into the bottom of the ramekin.
3. In a high-speed blender, place all cheese ingredients and blend until very smooth, about a minute at high speed.
4. Spoon half of the cheese mixture into the lined seasoned ramekin. Top with a spoonful of the pesto in small dollops around the cheese, and sprinkle with the remaining minced basil. Cover with the remaining cheese mixture. Gently pull up the sides of the wrap or cheesecloth to cover the top and refrigerate for 12 hours or at least overnight. The cheese should feel firm to the touch.
5. To serve, place the ramekin top down onto your serving plate. Gently lift away the ramekin and carefully remove the wrapping. Sprinkle with additional fresh minced herbs and a light drizzle of olive oil, if desired. Spread on toasted crostini or crackers.