Now, here’s something I never cook with – pastry. Combined with cheese (vegan), it’s a double-wammy combo that I wouldn’t normally turn to, but Whole Foods Market kindly sent me This Is Not Cheese Sauce by Willicroft to try so I thought I’d give something new a go – it’s festive season, after all.
This is actually the first time I’ve ever made anything with puff pastry and I have to say, I’m so surprised at how easy it was. Could this be a new thing for me? The Willicroft cheese also made it extra easy.
This dish took minutes to assemble, less than 15 minutes to cook and looked great on the table. So for all you beginner pastry cooks out there, give this a go!
About Willicroft vegan cheese (sauce)
The vegan cheese I used was This Is Not Cheese Sauce by Willicroft (£3.29) stocked at Whole Foods Market.
In pre-Covid times, when my office was in the heart of Leicester Square, I’d regularly spend lunchtimes perusing the shelves at Whole Foods Piccadilly, which if you’re not familiar, is like a mecca for all things natural, organic and special-diet. After a while tried to ration my visits to just once a fortnight as I realised I was spending quite a lot in there!
I’ve not come across Willicroft before but looks like a brand worth checking out; born in Amsterdam, passionate about plant-based cheese and on a mission to create a tasty, socially-conscious, planet-friendly and healthy foods for food lovers. [Sounds great🙋🏽♀️ ]
‘You care about the planet but also about food. You can give up milk and meat but cheese is the final hurdle…. But what if you could have the same decadent flavours without giving up cheese? That’s our raison d’être. We make plant-based cheese for dairy cheese lovers.Willicroft
So these cheese puffs that I made were unbelievably easy and totally novice-cook proof; they literally couldn’t be simpler. I got the inspo from this cheese puff recipe and adapted it slightly to make mine.
I used Jus Roll pre-rolled pastry sheets (from the supermarket fridge aisle) because it requires no prepping or rolling – great if you don’t own a rolling pin, like me!
I cut each ready-rolled sheet into eight and in the middle I popped a heaped teaspoon scoop of This Is Not Cheese Sauce. So far, so simple. (You’ll see from the pic that I tried to make twirly triangle as described in the recipe but didn’t really work for me so I stuck to straightforward slices.)
I then sprinkled on some fresh thyme – because I had some leftovers kicking about in the fridge, but any herb would work – and topped it with half a cherry tomato (I guess you can use any veg here, too). Finished off with a dash of pepper, and that’s it.
These went into the oven at 200°C (gas mark 6) for just 12-ish minutes, until golden on top.
How beautiful do they look! Minimum effort, maximum impact.
What was the vegan cheese like?
Willicroft This Is Not Cheese Sauce is cashew nut and coconut oil based. Even though it has cheese sauce on the label, it’s not actually runny, nor does it have a saucy-consistency in the pot. You can see from the pic (at the top) that it’s quite thick – but it’s a super smooth consistency, which makes it spreadable, but also melted perfectly without going rubbery or gloupy.
The flavours have a slight tang but rich, helped by mustard seeds, fermented soyabeans and nutritional yeast, so you don’t need to add extra seasoning and can keep the other flavours simple. In fact that’s why this cauliflower cheese recipe on the Willicroft website is so pared back.
It’s also surprisingly low in fat – just 6.6g per 100g – which is much lower than other vegan cheeses. You can tell this is a well crafted cheese and the perfect product for a dish where you need the cheese to hold its own.
The full ingredients are: Water, Coconut oil, Cashews, Corn starch, Natural flavour, Mustard seeds, Fermented soybeans, Fermented rice, Nutritional yeast, Salt, Garlic powder, Xanthan gum, Vitamin B2. May contain traces of gluten. Allergens in bold.
I would absolutely buy this cheese next time I want to make something cheese based (that’s also full of flavour).
And if you’re looking for special vegan cooking inspiration, then why not give these vegan cheese puffs a go.
Let me know if you do! Find me on Instagram @yanarfitness.