Cashew Mascarpone with Smoked Sundried Tomato Pesto

by Toni Fiore, the author of the Totally Vegetarian cookbook

This is a luscious cheese that is so easy to make it. And you can reap the rewards 24 hours later.

Serves 4   2 hour soak time   15 prep time    Refrigerate 24 hours



For the Cheese: 

  1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2-3 hours, drained

   1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

   1 ½  tablespoons water (additional if needed)

   2 tablespoons refined coconut oil

   1 teaspoon coconut (or raw apple cider) vinegar

   Pinch of salt

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

  1-2 tablespoons oil from tomatoes or olive oil

  1-2 drops liquid smoke (optional)

  Salt and pepper to taste

  Fresh mixed herbs ( dill and chives) for lining the ramekin and for garnish


Place the pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined with a light texture. Set aside.

Line a small lightly oiled ramekin with plastic wrap or cheesecloth. Sprinkle half of the minced basil, a sprinkle of mixed herbs and fresh ground black pepper into the bottom of the ramekin. Set aside. In a high-speed blender blend cheese ingredients until very smooth, about 45-50 seconds at high speed. Spoon half of the mixture into the lined seasoned ramekin. Top the cheese with a spoonful of the pesto in small dollops around the cheese. Next sprinkle on the remaining minced basil. Cover with the rest of the cheese. Gently pull up the sides of the wrap to cover the top and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight. The cheese should feel firm to the touch.

Once it’s firm, place the ramekin top down onto a serving plate. Gently and lift off the ramekin and carefully remove the wrapping.  If desired sprinkle with additional fresh minced herbs and a light drizzle of olive oil.  Serve with toasted crostini or crackers.

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