Creamy, salty, sharp, soft white cheese on crackers or in sandwiches or salads is delicious. There are so many ways to enjoy this goat-cheese-like almond cheese. The preparation is a bit fussy, but all the steps are necessary — I’ve provided ways to speed up the process so it doesn’t have to take overnight, unless you want it to.
Makes one 6-inch round
Place almonds in a medium bowl, and cover with 3 inches cold water. Let soak at least 6 hours. Or pour boiling water over the almonds, cover, and let soak for an hour. Drain soaking liquid, rinse almonds under cold running water.
Purée soaked almonds and the following ingredients in a blender or food processor (I find that the blender works best) until very smooth and creamy. It may take several minutes.
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, peeled
3/4 teaspoon salt
The next step is to drain the mixture of liquid. You can do it two ways.
Spoon the almond mixture into a handkerchief (used for kitchen purposes only!) or three layers of cheesecloth. Bring the corners together and twist the fabric around the cheese, forming into a ball and squeezing to help extract moisture. Secure with rubber band or kitchen twine. Place the ball in a colander, with a bowl underneath, and chill for 12 hours or so, then discard excess liquid.
Or you can work more quickly and press the wrapped ball with paper towels; once the paper towels are wet, replace them with new dry paper towels. With this second method, the drying out will take only about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Unwrap cheese (it will be soft), and transfer it to the lined pan. Flatten it to form a 6-inch round about 3/4-inch thick. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until top is slightly firm and very slightly browned. Cool, then chill for at least 2 hours.
Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed (WFPBNO)
Timing: About 2 hours using the quickest methods, plus 2 hours to chill after baking