When I started thinking of some of my favorite holiday foods (and also random pregnancy cravings…no I’m not pregnant), I instantly thought of this old tradition. Cream cheese and pepper jelly on crackers. The creamy smooth cheese, the salty cracker, and then the sweet and savory pepper jelly. It’s all just so delicious you can hardly stand it! In fact there is a steakhouse in my home town of Houston that still serves homemade melba toasts with whipped cream cheese and pepper jelly to this day. Naturally I cannot partake but I have been known to smell the serving dish it’s served in!
I’ve been so knee deep in recipe development for the Paleo Kids Cookbook that I literally have not been giving this blog nearly enough TLC. So when I was writing a recipe for grain, nut, dairy, egg free crackers today for the book, I thought that the only fair thing to do was to write a recipe that could easily be paired with them but that I could share like NOW!
But the truth is I love y’all so much that I am sharing TWO recipes in this post – one for the dairy free cream cheese and one for the pepper jelly. They go together like peas and carrots, or peanut butter and jelly, or um, pepper jelly and cream cheese.
The jelly recipe I am sharing is for a sweet and savory red pepper jelly. It is not spicy. You can also make spicy jalapeño jelly which has a little sweet and some kick, but we’ll have to save that for another time! For a great cracker recipe, check out Zenbelly’s Everything Crackers!
For the Cream Cheese:
- 1 cup raw unsalted cashew pieces, soaked for 4-8 hours and drained
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Pinch sea salt
- 1/4 cup cool water
- 1/2 teaspoon probiotic powder
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor
- Blend until creamy, you do not want lumps and bumps or too much graininess
- Transfer contents to a heat safe glass jar or bowl
- In your Instant Pot (preferred method) pour one cup water into the bottom and then place the stainless steel basket into the reservoir
- Place your jar of creamy cashew mixture onto the stainless basket and secure the lid
- Select the “YOGURT” feature and cook for 4 hours (you can also let it cook overnight, it will become more tart the longer you cook)
- After 4 hours release the pressure and carefully remove the jar
- Your cream cheese is ready to serve
- Alternatively you can cover the mixture from step #3 and place in an oven overnight. Turn just the light on in the oven which will provide enough warmth to help it culture
For the Pepper Jelly
- 1 large red bell pepper chopped (discarding seeds and stem)
- 1/4 cup local honey
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Pinch onion powder
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 heaping teaspoon pectin
- You have two choices how to prepare your pepper, you may either puree the entire pepper or you may finely mince it – mincing will provide more of a red hue to the jelly and pureeing will yield more of an orange color
- Now take your red pepper, honey, maple, onion powder and acv and combine them in a saucepan over med/high heat
- Bring to a simmer and allow to cook simmering for 12 minutes
- During the last 30 seconds, add in the pectin, stirring to combine well and then transfer contents to a glass jar; store in fridge covered