Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cashew Goat Cheese

At long last... it has happened. 

Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese

Before you dismiss this as far too time-consuming to do, let me stress that it's not actually that much work-- you just have to plan ahead.  Way ahead.  But most of the work is done by time itself--the soaking of the cashews, the slight draining in cheesecloth, the baking.

Honestly, it's worth it.  This stuff makes a great spread, but it's also good anywhere you would use a soft, salty cheese like feta--for example, in this watermelon-tomato salad, or in stuffed cherry peppers (forthcoming).

Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese

3/4 cup raw cashews
6 TB canola oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 TB tahini
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns 

1. Place cashews in large bowl; cover with 3 inches water. Soak overnight.
2. Drain liquid, rinse cashews under cold water, and drain again. Purée cashews, oil, lemon juice, tahini, salt, and 2 TB water in food processor 6 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
3. Place large 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.
4. Preheat oven to 200*. 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.
5. Unwrap cheese. Sprinkle with peppercorns, pressing to adhere.

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