It's fig season, which means...put figs of anything on everything! The combination of jammy figs, savory swiss brown mushrooms, creamy cashew cheese and the flavor-bomb that is reduced balsamic on this pizza will knock your socks off. The bitterness of using arugula instead of spinach works so well with the figs!
Fig Swiss Brown Mushroom and Herbed Cashew Cheese Pizza [Vegan]
For the Herbed Cashew Cheese:
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in cold water or in boiling hot water for 2 hours
- 1/3 cup raw macadamias (or just use more cashews), soaked overnight in cold water or in boiling hot water for 2 hours
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (plus more as needed to create a smooth and creamy cheese)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 5–6 grinds of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil (thyme or rosemary would also work well, use about 1 tablespoon finely chopped)
For the Pizza:
- About 1/2 pound of your favorite pizza dough (enough dough to create one 10-12-inch pizza)
- 3-4 tablespoons of herbed cashew cheese
- About 4 small swiss brown mushrooms, stalks removed, caps thinly sliced
- About 3-4 small figs, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
- 1 small scallion/spring onion, finely sliced
- Handful of arugula or baby spinach
- Flaky sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Olive oil
- Drizzle of reduced balsamic (either purchase this ready-made or make your own)
To Make the Cashew Cheese:
- Drain the soaked nuts and give them a good rinse under cold water. Then add them to a a blender (preferably high-speed) along with all of the other cashew cheese ingredients except the basil.
- Blend on high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stop and scrape the sides of the blender down as needed and add a little more water if you need it to help the nuts blend & become creamy. Once smooth, remove the cashew cheese from the blender and place in a bow or container, fold in the finely chopped basil, and taste for seasoning. Add a little more salt and/or lemon juice if you'd like. Refrigerate covered until needed.
To Make the Pizza:
- Preheat your oven to it's highest temperature with a rack placed in the upper third of the oven and a pizza baking stone placed on the rack (you can also bake the pizza on a baking sheet, if using this method there is no need to preheat the sheet). Do this about 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to bake your pizza to make sure that your oven and pizza stone are searingly hot.
- Meanwhile, take your room temperature pizza dough and flour it, your hands and your work surface, then gently pull and stretch the dough out with your fingers or knuckles to shape it into a 10-12 inch round. I like to leave the edges a little thicker and with some air bubbles in tact, for a puffy, blistered crust.
- Place the pizza round on a well floured pizza peel or chopping board (or on an unrimmed baking sheet if not baking on a stone) and switch the oven to broil/grill for 10 minutes to heat up.
- Top the pizza dough with 3-4 tablespoons of the herbed cashew cheese, and gently spread it out, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge for the crust. Then layer on the swiss brown mushrooms, fig slices and sliced scallions / spring onions. Sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and a few generous cracks of black pepper. Transfer the topped pizza gently but swiftly onto the pizza stone in the oven (or place the baking sheet with the pizza on top into the oven) , quickly shut the oven door and bake the pizza for about 3 1/2-4 minutes or potentially longer depending on your oven, until the crust is nicely golden brown and charred, watch it carefully as it can burn quickly.
- Slide the cooked pizza out of the oven using the pizza peel and transfer to your serving platter. Top with a handful of arugula or baby spinach, a little good quality olive oil a drizzle of the reduced balsamic (not too much or it will be overpowering). Sprinkle with extra sea salt and cracked black pepper if you'd like, then slice and serve immediately while it's still piping hot!