I love a good cheese & wine dinner .. festive, delicious and easy to put together. The perfect start to a night of girly gossip or romantic Friday dinner … So I wanted to find a vegan alternative that the hubby could also enjoy.
The “vegan cheeses” I found at the supermarket we not too much to my liking – I always wonder what is in them and they don’t seem tasty enough to eat on their own with a piece of crusty bread. So that motivated me to try and make my own version, and I found a great recipe on Lands and Flavours which inspired this post.
Very easy to make – although needs a bit of advance planning – this almond cheese is very versatile – depending on how long you season and cook it it can be either soft and spreadable, or sharp and crumbly. Enjoy as is or crumbled in a salad or on a pizza.
What do you need? 200 g ground almonds – 40 ml lemon juice – 4 tbsp virgin olive oil – 1/2 clove garlic – 2 tsp sea salt – 180 ml water.
If you feel inspired, use dried herbs like rosemary or crushed walnuts to cover your cheese and give it a slightly different character.
How to make it?
1.Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until the mix becomes as smooth as possible. If the mix is too thick and not blending, add water one tablespoon at a time until it works.
2. When the mixture is smooth and creamy, remove from the blender and pour into a fine sieve. Place this sieve over a container to catch the draining water and refrigerate overnight. Don’t be tempted to overlook this step, as it really helps getting the perfect taste and texture by removing the excess water and allowing the flavors to marry (same principle as when marinating).
3. After the cheese has drained well overnight, carefully invert it onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. You have two options for baking: Bake at 325°F (165°C) for 25-30 minutes for a just set, more spreadable cheese. Alternatively, bake it at 350°F (180°C) for 30-40 minutes for a more set, more crumbly, yet still creamy cheese.
4. After it cools down, put in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. It will keep for about a week.
You can use this recipe as a base to create a lot of different cheeses and make you own cheese platter by experimenting with flavours, crusts and baking time.