Tofu-based sour cream has never appealed to me because I cannot tolerate the chalky undertaste; and uncultured cashew-based sour cream doesn’t work for me either because the natural sweetness of the cashews yields a product that is much too sweet for my liking (although it works in dessert applications). Cultured cashew-based sour cream, on the other hand, has a very accurate dairy sour cream flavor because the lacto-bacterial culture converts the natural sugar in the cashews into lactic acid, thus providing the authentic tanginess and eliminating the excessively sweet taste. However, preparing rejuvelac and culturing the cream takes several days and sometimes a quick alternative is appreciated.
It took some experimentation to achieve a texture and flavor that satisfied my taste, but I think this quick version makes an excellent alternative to its cultured counterpart. While this recipe still uses cashews to add body to the cream, the ratio of cashews is significantly reduced. Please note that there is no alternative to using soymilk in this recipe. Thickening is dependent upon the curdling action of soymilk when lactic acid is introduced. Other plant milks will not react to the acid in the same manner.
Vegan lactic acid powder can be purchased online from ModernistPantry.com. Citric acid powder can be used as an alternative to lactic acid powder but will not provide the same lactic dairy flavor. I don’t recommend lemon juice as an alternative acid for this recipe, since the water content in lemon juice will thin the texture too much. This recipe yields about 1 and ¾ cup sour cream.
• ¼ cup refined coconut oil
• ½ cup (2.5 oz.) whole raw cashews (pre-soaking is not necessary)
• 1 and ¼ cup organic plain unsweetened soymilk (sorry, no substitutes)
• ¼ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 and ½ tsp lactic acid
Remove the lid from the coconut oil and place the jar or bottle into a microwave. Heat until melted (about 30 seconds to 1 minute depending upon the solidity of the coconut oil); avoid overheating the oil. Alternately, place the jar or bottle into a container filled with near boiling water and let stand until the oil melts. Measure the coconut oil and set aside.
Measure the lactic acid and set aside in a small dish.
Add the cashews, soymilk and salt to a high-powered blender, cover and process for 2 full minutes.
Remove the lid plug and with the blender running on high speed, add the coconut oil.
Reduce the speed to low and add the lactic acid powder. The cream will thicken instantly – turn the blender off. Do not continue to process once thickened.
Transfer the sour cream to an airtight container, seal and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours until well-chilled and further thickened. Consume within 10 days of preparation.