I’ve heard of soy cream cheese but cream cheese made of nuts is a recent revelation to me. The concept behind it was intriguing enough for me to want to try to make my own. Plus I am always looking for non-dairy soy-free alternatives and macadamia cream cheese was the solution for me. Although made from macadamia nuts, this spread surprisingly has the texture and consistency to that as regular cream cheese. I saw many variations how to make macadamia cream cheese. Some recipes require probiotic powder while other recipes may ask you to soak the nuts at least 4 hours in advance. Some people like to add fresh chopped herbs, especially chives for a finishing touch as they would on dairy cream cheese. I prefer mine natural. While macadamia nuts are the highlight of this recipe, you can use cashew nuts as a cheaper alternative. This cream cheese is perfect for vegans, celiacs and those suffering from lactose intolerance as well. This morning, I spread some of this nut spread over laffa, topped with peach slices, sprinkled a dash of cinnamon and toasted it. It was absolutely sublime! Plus it was a change of pace of my usual yogurt and oatmeal routine (I have nothing against yogurt and oatmeal. Every now and then, I have a relentless itch to try something “different”). This macadamia cream cheese recipe is a 24 hour process unlike most of my speeded spreads and dip recipes. The results are worth the effort and wait though. This nut spread makes a great vegan and soy-free filling for a cheese cake or Danish.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1cup of raw, unsalted macadamia nuts or cashew nuts
- Juice of one small lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped herbs of your choice (optional)
Soak your macadamias for 2 hours. You don’t need to do this step but it softens them up a little and makes blending easier and the end result creamier. I usually soak mine if I have time.
If soaking, rinse macadamias in cold water and let drain. Put your macadamias in the blender with lemon juice, salt and just enough water to cover. Blend on high for 1 minute if you have a Vitamix, or 2-3 mins if using a food processor or less powerful blender. The mixture should be smooth and creamy.
Place a strainer over a bowl where it does not touch the bottom. Line the strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth with the edges hanging over. Spoon the macadamia mixture into cheesecloth and fold the sides over the entire mix, making sure no mix is left uncovered.
Find a plate that fits inside the strainer and is big enough to cover the entire mix. Place some weights on top of the plate (jars filled with water work well). You don’t want so much weight that the mix is being pushed through the cheesecloth, just enough to press any excess liquid out.
Put the mix somewhere warm but not in direct sunlight, cover with a tea towel and let stand at room temperature for a minimum of 12 hours (I usually leave mine for around 24 hours).
Once the cheese has sat for 12 hours, uncover and have a taste for tanginess (it will continue to get more tangy the longer it sits).
Once you are happy with the flavor, remove from the cheesecloth into a bowl, season with any extra salt to taste.
Refrigerate until cold and your cheese is ready to eat. Delicious!
Yields 1 cup