I've been wanting to try cashew cheese pizza ever since I noticed it on the menu at City o City. When I saw Clotilde's recipe for cashew cheese at Chocolate and Zucchini recently, I decided that the moment had come. Although I'd yet to taste cashew cheese, I picked a few ingredients that seemed cashew-friendly, and set about making my pizza.
For those who who have never had cashew cheese, it's actually not a cheese at all. Instead, it's a more of a nut paté that vegans use as an alternative to dairy. I've seen a few different versions of cashew cheese on the internet; I liked the simplicity of Clotide's recipe, which uses only puréed raw cashews, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. The result is reminiscent of a garlic-tinted, ricotta-textured cheese spread.
This pizza has elements of both sweet (pear) and savory (arugula, red onion, and cashew cheese). I did not use much red onion, as I find that the flavor can be overpowering; feel free to increase the amount of onion to your taste. One batch of cashew cheese yields more than enough for a single pizza; spread the remainder on crackers, use it in a sandwich, or make two pizzas!
Note: the cashew cheese is easy to assemble but requires a little advance work: the raw cashews need to be soaked for a few hours (I soaked them for 8 hours while I was at work) and the "cheese" needs to be prepared 24 hours before it is used.
One batch pizza dough (I use this recipe; store-bought dough is fine)
Olive oil (to brush on baking sheet)
1 tablespoon corn meal (to sprinkle on baking sheet)
Half a batch (about 3/4 cup) of cashew cheese
1 pear, washed and thinly sliced (I used a red pear, but any variety should work)
1 scant tablespoon thinly sliced red onion
3/4 cup arugula, washed, gently dried, and chopped
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Roll out the dough, place it on a lightly oiled baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, and shape the crust.
Spread a thin layer of cashew cheese on the pizza dough.
Top the cashew cheese with pear slices, red onion, and chopped arugula.
Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for about 10 minutes (keep an eye on your pizza as it may require a little less or a little more than 10 minutes - you'll know it's done when the crust begins to turn golden).
Remove from oven and serve.