Truffle cheese sounds so fancy-pants, doesn’t it? But sometimes you just need a fancy-pants vegan cheese to nibble on with some delicious fresh fruit (whether cherries, grapes, or pears). Am I right?
I can seriously never get enough of truffles in any form! I am always on the lookout for locally foraged ones at the farmer’s market (so good grated into Himalayan pink salt for homemade truffle salt, or grated into sauces, risotto, and even melted vegan butter and tossed with cooked pasta), which doesn’t happen very often. But since fresh truffles aren’t always available, affordable, or easy to find, truffle oil is a great stand in.
Not all truffle oils are created equal. My favorite ones are light olive oils that are infused with real truffles. There is a great olive oil store in Portland (called Benessere), which not only carries this oil, but you can go in and sample them. I like to do that every time, as batches and brands can vary from time to time and store to store.
If you’re crazy for truffles, you are going to really love this cheese! It has a light truffle flavor, although you can make it a bit stronger or lighter depending on how much truffle oil you add. With my truffle oil I currently have, 2 tablespoons is necessary to give it a nice subtle truffle flavor. You can also use black or white truffle oil. If you are trying to decide how strong you want your cheese, taste the blended mixture before you add the carrageenan and tapioca.
This cheese is delicious served with sliced bread and fruit, or on a melty cheese sandwich, served with crackers, or grated into mac and cheese. If you want to make the truffle flavor even stronger, you can grate a little fresh truffle into the cheese, or use truffle salt in place of the sea salt in this recipe.
I hope that you enjoy this cheese as much as I do!
This recipe is adapted from Somer McCowan’s awesome Smoked Coconut Gouda cheese, (Part Deux). This cheese is delicious eaten sliced out of hand, or melted on a panini. It is really important not to add the tapioca and carrageenan until the end of blending, or else it can start to thicken and get lumpy in the blender.
2 cups cool water
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons truffle oil, or to taste
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vegan lactic acid powder
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 1/2 tablespoons kappa carrageenan
In the jar of a strong blender, combine the water, cashews, truffle oil, nutritional yeast flakes, salt, and lactic acid, and blend until super smooth and there aren’t any bits of nuts. Taste and adjust truffle flavor if desired. Add the tapioca and carrageenan, and blend for 5 to 10 seconds until smooth.
Pour the cashew mixture into a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking continually. Continue cooking, whisking continuously, for about 7-9 minutes until the mixture has thickened nicely and is very glossy.
Pour the cheese into a smallish container that can contain a minimum of 2 cups volume. I like small loaf pans or glass bowls.
If properly cooked, the cheese will start to set right away. Allow the cheese to set at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate the cheese to finish setting for 3 to 4 hours.
If the cheese doesn’t set up properly that means you haven’t cooked it long enough, if this happens to you, throw it back into the saucepan and cook for a few minutes more! It’ll re-melt and then you can pour it back into the mold for it to solidify.
If you are going by taste with your particular truffle oil, make sure to taste the blended mixture before you add the tapioca and carrageenan.