Soak raw cashews over night and blend them the next day to make nut milk -- an indispensable ingredient for a vegan diet. While the recipe for “Blackberry and Vanilla Bean Custard Parfait” happens to be vegan, I’m honestly drawn to the challenge of an uncooked custard. And not only that -- the custard asks to be served in martini glasses.



The recipe can be found deep within the 567-page cookbook edited by Florence Fabricant called The New York Times Dessert Cookbook, published in 2006.

I use two cups of cashews, rather than including coconut. After blending the cashews with a half cup of water, I have a smooth mixture, although not as thin as “milk.” Imagine the texture and color of a creamy hummus.

The ⅓ cup of maple syrup included in the blend leaves its indelible scent.

Now, let’s talk about blackberries. Do you like them? I want to say blackberries are a “love-them-or-hate-them” berry. They are distinctly firm and jammy, with a somewhat sour pop. In this arrangement, the blackberries provide crunch. I add the minced leaves from a sprig of thyme to the mashed berries, for an odd but interesting element.

Unsweetened cashew custard is a neutral -- yet earthy -- platform. Let’s not expect a sweet cream or smooth pudding. This is not that. Try it.