Almond Cashew Cream with Amaretto Cherries came from my effort to make a vegan dessert for Mom on Christmas day. Always up for a good challenge, I started thinking about Cashew Cream, since it resembles heavy whipping cream. My next thoughts turned to almonds because Mom loves anything made with almond extract. Before I knew it, the whole idea was coming together in my head pretty easily. So, when I put the real thing together on Christmas afternoon, I was pretty excited with the results. Mom liked it, which was the ultimate goal of this whole experiment, but others who tried it thought it was good too. I really liked the crunch of the toasted almonds mixed with the creaminess of the cashew cream (that wasn’t overly sweet) and the amaretto with the cherries (love that combination as is!) – all together, it was really yummy!
This needs to be started a day ahead, which is actually kind of nice when making this for a special occasion – love anything I can make ahead of time. 🙂
I started by soaking 1 1/2 cups of frozen dark cherries in 3 Tbsp. of amaretto liquor.
I put this in the fridge and then gave it a mix every now and then over the next day to get the liquid all through the cherries.
Next, I soaked 1/2 cup of raw cashews (not roasted) in a cup of water and let these set all day – about 6-8 hours.
Once the cashews are done soaking, drain off the soaking water. To the soaked cashews, add 2 Tbsp. of coconut sugar, 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1 tsp. almond extract. Give this a whirl in the blender until it is nice and smooth. I use a powerful nutri-bullet which makes quick work of this.
This does not come out super sweet, which we thought tasted nice with the cherries, but I would give it a taste at this point and adjust the sugar to your liking. You could also use another type of sugar – white, brown, raw, probably maple syrup or honey too, although I’d try a little less water i using a liquid sugar to be sure it doesn’t turn out too thin. Tuck this into the fridge overnight. It will get a little thicker when it’s nice and cold.
Next, toast about 1/2 cup of chopped or sliced almonds. Put them in a dry saute pan over medium heat and patiently stand by the stove and give them a toss every now and then. They take a little while – maybe 10 minutes or so, but once they get hot and start browning, they can burn quickly, so don’t walk away. When they look (and smell) toasty brown, take them off the heat and put them in a glass or metal bowl/container to cool. Don’t stress over making sure every nut is toasted brown. Once the majority have a little brown color to them in some spots, they are usually good. You can brown them more or less, just don’t let them burn. I think it’s better to under-brown them a bit than to patiently struggle through multiple batches because you burned them (yes, I have experience with this! 🙂 ) I’m never long on patience when it comes to standing still! Set the toasted nuts aside as these will be sprinkled on last minute before serving. You could also put them on the side for people to sprinkle on themselves.
When it is time to serve, put a couple spoonfuls of the cherries (with the liquid) in the bottom of a bowl or glass. Add a couple spoonfuls of the cashew cream mixture. Then, sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Yum!
For extra fun with layered desserts, I picked up some fancy glasses at goodwill. None of them match, but they are all kind of cool looking – the kids enjoy picking out which one they will use. 🙂
- 1½ cups frozen or fresh dark red cherries
- 3 Tbsp. amaretto liquor
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- ½ cup sliced, chopped, or slivered almonds
- Mix the cherries and amaretto in a small bowl and put in the fridge for 1 day, stirring occasionally.
- Soak the cashews in 1 cup of water for 6-8 hours.
- Drain the cashews and discard the soaking water.
- In a blender, mix the soaked cashews, coconut sugar, coconut oil, ¼ cup water, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
- Blend the cashew mixture until smooth. Refrigerate over night.
- Toast the almonds in a saute pan over medium heat until toasted brown.
- To assemble, spoon a couple of spoonfuls of the cherry mixture (with liquid) into a glass or bowl.
- Spoon a couple spoonfuls of the cashew cream mixture over the cherries.
- Sprinkle with toasted almonds.