We usually stick pumpkin at the end of the meal, in the form of pie. But my recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese Dip brings pumpkin to the head of the table. Place a large warm pot of this stuff on your coffee table surround it by fresh chopped veggies, crackers and bread and you are set! Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese Dip is cozy enough for a pajama party yet chic enough for a party dress gathering. - kathynyc —kathynyc
Test Kitchen Notes
Kathynyc's delicious and versatile Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese is a really solid dip recipe to have in your recipe files. I tried three variations - one with the pumpkin pie spice, one with garam masala, and one with ancho and they were all great. I would like to try making it again with chipotle, which seems like it would also work well. The pumpkin seeds toast up nicely in the oven, the top takes on a pretty golden color, and it has a nice, thick texture. In addition to using as a dip with apple slices and crackers, I've been eating this on toast for breakfast. I highly recommend this recipe! —VanessaS
raw cashews, soaked overnight in salted water
Soak the raw cashews overnight in salted water. Drain, but reserve the water for use in the dip.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Add the drained cashews, pumpkin, maple syrup, lemon juice, oil, salt and spices to a food processor or high speed blender,
Add the water in a few splashes at a time. (If you are infusing the water with saffron, as I mentioned in my Hot Dip Tip, be sure to add in that step) Add more if needed. You want to process the cheese into a thick texture - a bit thicker than hummus. Process until the desired texture is reached (at least 2 minutes on high).
Do a taste test. Add in more spices/salt/sweetener/lemon juice as you see fit. You can also add in additional flavor changers like harissa for a smoky/spicy taste. Or crushed sage for a warm herbed flavor.
Pour your cheese into your baking serving dish. Sprinkle a few modest spices on top. You can also top with a few pumpkin seeds as a nice garnish. The seeds will toast up nicely in the oven. Shallow dishes will result in a firmer/drier end product. Deep dishes will keep your smooth creamy texture.
For a shallow dish, bake at 250 for 50+ minutes. For the deep dish where you only want to warm the center and crisp the top you only need to bake at 250 for 20-30 minutes. The cheese dip will dry out the longer you bake it. The more you bake cashew cheese the more familiar you will get with your baking preferences.
Plating. Serve warm. You can also chill and firm up in the fridge if you'd like a cold pumpkin cheese dip. I enjoy both options. Serve with veggies, crackers, bread cubes. You can also add a drizzle of oil and/or maple syrup over top the final serving cheese if you'd like.