janet @ the taste space

Pecan and Cranberry Cheese Log & Cookbook Giveaway!

In Appetizers on December 17, 2013 at 7:46 AM

Pecan and Cranberry Cheese Log

A few months ago, though, I was treated to a wonderful girl’s night out: a vegan wine and cheese!

A vegan cheese party in Texas.

An oxymoron like no other?

I don’t buy processed vegan cheeses and while I have tried my hand at simple homemade cheeses, I was blown over by all.the.vegan.cheeses. There was a complete spread from Door 86 (the cheese ball was my favourite), Heidi Ho, and a bunch of homemade cheeses from Artisan Vegan Cheese (the sun-dried tomato and garlic cream cheese was fabulous). I have been intimidated by recipes requiring room temperature fermentation. My biggest kitchen disasters have been sauerkraut and pineapple vinegar from Mastering Fermentation. No fun.

Pecan and Cranberry Cheese Log

Enter The Cheesy Vegan. A bit more complex than cashew spreads, but recipes not as complex to require fermented rejuvelac. I started with this recipe for a vegan cheese log crusted in pecans and cranberries. Not hard to make, but with a few steps over the span of 2 days, you need a bit of advance preparation. Coconut and olive oil are blended with cashews, lemon juice, tahini and salt and then left to drain/ferment overnight. Instead of cheesecloth, my fine-mesh strainer worked like a charm. The following morning, a fair amount of liquid had dripped from my cashew spread.. and in case you were wondering, it looked mostly like oil. A bake in the oven at a low temperature is akin to a faster dehydration (I presume) and assists with getting the cheese to firm up. Refrigerate, top with the nuts and cranberries, and you are good to go. The salty/lemony spread paired really well with the buttery pecans and sweet cranberries.

I will confess that I did not bring any vegan cheeses to the original cheese party but was inspired to make the cheese log for a subsequent vegan potluck. It was a hit. With so many recipe requests, I knew I had to share it… and lucky for you, you can also win your own copy of the cookbook!

Thankfully the publisher is letting me give a cookbook to one reader living in the United States (sorry to all my non-US readers). To be entered, please leave a comment here, telling me about your favourite vegan cheese or cheese dish. If you haven’t made anything cheesy yet, have a look through the table of contents of The Cheesy Vegan on amazon and tell me what you want to cook the most. I will randomly select a winner on December 26, 2013. Good luck!

Pecan and Cranberry Cheese Log

PS. Other recipes from The Cheesy Vegan spotted elsewhere:

Bloody Vegan Mary

Lemony Parmesan Linguine

PPS. My other vegan cheese/dairy recipes:

Tofu Feta

Italian Cashew Cheese

Nacho Cheese Cashew Spread

Rosemary Cashew Cheese

Scallion Cashew Cheese

Cashew Sour Cream

PPPS. Other giveaways I am sharing right now: 30 Minute Vegan’s Soup’s On! and Indian Cooking Unfolded.

PPPPS. This is my submission to this month’s Feel Good Food challenge for cranberries and this month’s Cheese Please challenge for festive nibbles.

Pecan and Cranberry Cheese Log
Adapted, minimally, from The Cheesy Vegan (this is a half-recipe)

3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
zest from 1 lemon (1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
1 tbsp tahini
1.5 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted (I forgot to toast mine)
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

NOTE: This recipes takes 2 overnight preparations.

1. Soak the cashews overnight in water to cover. Drain and rinse once ready to begin. (I have a high-speed blender, so I skipped this step)

2. In a food processor (I used a high-speed blender), puree the soaked and drained cashews, olive oil, coconut oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, tahini and salt and about 1 tbsp of water until smooth. You might need to add more water, but don’t add too much.

3. Line a strainer with layer of cheese cloth (I just used a fine-mesh strainer like this without the cheese cloth) and place it overtop a large bowl. With a rubber spatula, scrape the cashew blend out of the blender and onto the cheesecloth. Fold the cheesecloth over the cashew mixture, covering it completely and press to begin draining the cashew mixture. Let the mixture stand at room temperature overnight or for at least 12 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 200F. Discard the liquid from the bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I used a silpat). Unwrap the cashew mixture and place it on a fresh sheet of cheesecloth. Wrap the mixture and shape it into a log shape, twisting at both ends to retain its shape (I just free-formed mine without the cheesecloth). Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes until the log is set on the outside but still soft (I did no such flipping). Let the log cool in its wrapping then chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

5. In a medium-size bowl, stir together the pecans and cranberries. When the log has firmed up, unwrap it and gently roll it in the mixture until it’s covered, pressing to make the mixture adhere to the log while it retains its shape. Wrap the log in waxed paper or plastic wrap and transfer it to the refrigerator. Chill until you’re ready to serve, surrounded by your favourite crackers.

Makes 1 small loaf.

  1. I have yet to make any vegan cheese from this book but my favorite go to is red bell pepper, cup cashews and 3/4 cup nutritional yeast- blend. Soo yummy I eat with raw chips, carrots, broccoli, jicima and Apple’s. Thanks

  2. I have been wanting to make my own vegan cheeses are awhile now. I am not a huge fan of the processed ones out on the market. My favorite vegan cheesy dish would probably be a cashew based cheese sauce with nutritional yeast of course in a baked mac n’ cheese.

  3. I’d love to make the tofu feta! One of my previous favorite cheeses!

  4. I’ve never made vegan cheese–been too busy just figuring out how to consistently make decent basic meals. You make it sound like it’s really worth the effort. I bet my kids will really enjoy your cheese log, and probably the Italian cheese, too. Thanks for doing the giveaway!

  5. That looks so festive! Thanks for sharing the recipe and pics. I have AVC and have had great luck (love love love the gouda and smoked provolone) but still want Cheesy Vegan too. One can’t have too many vegan cheese recipes in my humble opinion! Also, for those looking for feta, I also really like the almond feta posted on Vegetarian Times.

  6. This looks delicious – I have recently bought this book and think it looks fantastic and a bit easier than the artisan cheese. I have a little block of artisan cheese in the fridge and am trying to be patient but hope it is worth it.

  7. i love making a cheeze sauce with nutritional yeast cauliflower oatmeal and almond milk!

  8. I have tried several recipes for making vegan cheese, and still do not have a favorite. I am looking forward to trying the cheddar recipe in The Cheesy Vegan.

  9. The blue cheese hummus sounds delicious!

  10. Your little notes in the recipe are cracking me up, because they totally are things I’d do too! I especially love the ones about free-forming the log and not bothering with the flipping. They really remind me of the way I cook: if there’s a way to get roughly the same results while simplifying the process, you bet I’m going for it! 🙂
    (No need to enter me in the giveaway, since I’m not in the US.)

  11. I’d like to try making a vegan feta cheese to put in pretty spinach salads like the one I made for Thanksgiving. I enjoyed it without cheese, but would love to add another contrasting color and taste to the salad!

  12. I’ve never tried making my own vegan cheese, but would love to try! The Tofu Feta sounds delish!


  13. I have never been a fan of cheese, but before I chose to reduce dairy, the only type I liked was soft cheese with nuts and fruit in it. This brings back fond memories 🙂

  14. Vegan cheeses are still hit and miss for me but I find tofu ricotta to be delicious and surprisingly authentic tasting. I have had a TON of trouble with rejuvelac (almost 10 tries and each has smelled like a dirty foot) from Artisan Vegan Cheese so I would love to try something for more fermentation-challenged folks like myself. 🙂

  15. I have yet to make my own vegan cheese. Would love to win the book and start. 🙂 I really am interested to try the Brie recipe in the book.

  16. I would have mistaken that for a steak and eaten the whole thing….. And then realized, oh whoops!

  17. Mmmm this sounds fun AND tasty =)

  18. […] original plan was to bring the vegan cheese log, but figured the vegans would appreciate it more. Indeed, they loved it possibly more than me! […]

  19. We don’t get many vegan recipes like this in the UK. Thanks for linking up to this month’s Feel Good Food.

  20. I love soft cashew cheese…reminds me of goat cheese

  21. I’d love to make the Lemony Linguine!

  22. This is gorgeous Janet! I haven’t made a proper fermented cheese yet but have always wanted to. I find it so strange that I love nut-based cheeses so much when I hated cheese before going vegan!

  23. That cheese party was a great night! I would make the cheddar cheese and then use it to make mac & cheese or grilled cheese.

  24. How fascinating – I have heard of nut-based cheeses but never realised the process was so involved and required fermentation etc. I love nuts so must give it a try. Looks delicious too. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  25. […] Parmesan and Smoked Paprika Popcorn Shallot and Stilton Dip Goat’s Cheese Truffles with Pistachio and Thyme Cheese and Leek Tartlets Cheese Truffles Belvoir Crumpets Goat Cheese and Beetroot Marmalade Parcels Cranberry Brie ‘Ravioli’ Pastries Camembert and Cranberry Croissant Bakes Pesto, Sun-dried Tomato and Parmesan Palmiers Blue Cheese, Parmesan and Green Olive Breadsticks Cheese Aigrettes Festive Cheese Balls with Nuts and Cranberries Pecan and Cranberry Cheese Log […]

  26. […] a culinary choice usually associated with cheese. Janet from The Taste Space linked up with her  Pecan and Cranberry Cheese Log. I’d heard of vegan cheese before, usually made with nuts such as cashews, but never realised […]

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