Step 1Put the cashews in a medium bowl and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Soak until the cashews are softened, at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. When you squeeze a nut between your fingers, it should break apart easily. If soaking for longer than 1 hour, cover and refrigerate.
Step 2Drain the cashews and rinse well. Transfer to a blender, along with the chipotle, lemon juice, ½ cup fresh water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Puree until very smooth, scraping down the blender occasionally. If needed, add another ¼ to ½ cup fresh water to get the mixture to an extremely smooth crema consistency. Taste and add more salt if needed.