Back in the days when I ate dairy, I loved cream, particularly cream cakes or desserts. I had a Saturday job in a bakery whilst at sixth form college and would gaze longingly at the cream horns or chocolate eclairs, hoping there would be a few left over at the end of the day to take home. Although they never actually reached my house as I’d devour them on the way home!
As the saying goes, the things you crave are the things that do you the most harm. That turned out so true as it was cream, and all things dairy, for me! All those years without realising I was intolerant to it meant some long-term chronic inflammation. And lots of time spent on a diet, as I always overate! But hindsight is a wonderful thing…..
I have to confess I am still jealous when I see others tucking into a cream cake or lovely creamy dessert. And even though there are a range of vegan options available in the shops, the yummiest ones contain coconut oil or coconut cream, which is off the list if you follow a low-fat programme like Overcoming MS. I could of course just eat these alternatives, but as someone with multiple sclerosis, I’d rather stay well in the long term rather than risk it for a short term indulgence!
There are still dairy-free creams you can buy that are ok, although some contain refined oils like sunflower. But my favourite remains home-made cashew cream. Why? Because it’s made from only 2 ingredients – cashew and water. And the whole cashew nut is included, so no pulp discarded, and all the fibre left in.
It’s super flexible too, suitable for savoury and sweet dishes, and it can be made as runny or thick as you like. Although it will never be as thick as coconut cream as there’s no saturated fat to help it keep its form, making it a challenge for frosting – but not impossible. But I’ll cover that on another post.
One thing to take into account if using cashew cream for a hot dish like a creamy pasta sauce is it thickens very quickly when heated. Never let it boil, as it will burn and stick to the bottom of the pan (I’ve done it – not nice!).
This recipe makes 300ml of cashew cream with the consistency of single cream, enough for a creamy pasta sauce to serve 4 people. The amount can be halved though, just make sure you use a smaller blender pot and the blade is well-covered or it won’t work. And the blender may overheat.
You do need a high speed blender for this. I have this Ninja 2in1 blender which makes light work of it transforming the cashews and water into lovely cream in a matter of seconds. It is very loud though, so beware if you have delicate ears!
You’ll find this basic recipe coming up quite frequently in my recipes. And indeed I’ve posted about this before, in one of my very early blog posts back in 2012. You can check it out here if you want to see how the blog has changed! It also contains some fun facts about cashews I’d learnt on a trip we’d done whilst living in India (which seems such a long time ago now).
I hope you find this simple recipe as useful as I do.
Simple cashew cream
- High speed blender
- Jar or jug for storage
- 150 grams cashew nuts soaked **
- 300*** ml water
- Drain the soaked cashew nuts and place in a blender jug. Add the water
- Blend on medium speed for 25 seconds. Stir to check consistency. If it's a little grainy, blend again for another 5-10 seconds until smooth.
- Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days in a lidded jar or container.