I am definitely getting a bit more ornery as I get older. Take for example a simple breakfast at a fabulous five star hotel on a fabulous beach somewhere in the Philippine archipelago — the toast arrives accompanied by by some butter — and more often than not, seriously crappy bottled jam. I won’t even get into grocery brand names, which they often are, and the fact that they feature ingredients that aren’t even typically grown here. Over the years, this has been a recurring theme while having breakfast at several good to excellent hotels around the Philippines. Why are we so ashamed of our own produce? Why can’t we serve something local? And since you eat so little jam or butter with your toast, does it really matter that local, artisanally produced preserves are more expensive than commercial brands? It riles me even more when on trips to places like Cambodia or Bali, local hotels offer up an often stunning array of local preserves alongside more typical marmalade and jellies. One such hotel served us chico jam a couple of years ago, a wonderful revelation.
So enough with the minor rant. Here is something that should blow your socks off on many fronts. A wonderful use of a locally available ingredient. Superb quality. Simple preparation. Far more healthy than processed alternatives. Absolutely delicious. A cashew butter made with homemade guava jelly (instead of sugar or honey). In the photos here, it is topped with a teaspoon of amber guava jelly, a feast for the eyes and stomach.
Start off with a cup of plain, freshly roasted cashew nuts. I used part of the stash that we made here, harvested by hand in Northern Palawan, roasted in our home oven and stored in glass jars until the eureka butter moment occurred. Put the cashews in a heavy duty blender, I use a Waring Pro blender — my favorite, or alternatively in a food processer and blitz it until a fine crumb. Add a pinch of salt (not too much, you can add more later), and carefully drizzle in approximately 2-2.5 tablespoons of neutral oil such as canola oil. Add a teaspoon or two of guava jelly (or honey) and blitz until mixed well and you have a grainy, creamy cashew butter. Taste it and adjust salt or sweetness to your liking. Add a bit more oil if you want it to have a “looser” consistency, but I like it thick and just barely spreadable…
Place in a clean jar and store in your refrigerator. It should last several months, but I doubt it if you have good bread or crackers around often… This is a slightly more subtle nut butter than say peanut or hazelnut or pecan butters, but it is absolutely delicious. I stretched diet rules and had two WASA crackers spread with kasoy butter and some homemade guava jelly on top with a large cup of tea. Yum.
This recipe will yield slightly less than a half cup of cashew butter. You can double or triple the recipe easily as long as you have a good blender or food processor. It’s a bit expensive compared with say, peanut butter, but on a per serving basis, a luxury most people can certainly justify. It is so satisfying to create simple, delicious and local ingredients such as this one. And yes, it ticks me off that more people don’t do it more often. :)
The kasoy butter was also terrific on hot pan de salt with more guava jelly. It would probably work in a puff pastry as well. The possibilities are intriguing…