This thick, snow-white yoghurt is an absolute MUST in my fridge. If it's not there - in some form or another - we are, quite simply, lost.
One of my dearest friends and neighbours, Lanette, put me onto this stuff a couple of years ago, and I don't know how I survived before it. It's very much like a Greek Yoghurt (which I Luh-huh-huv- especially with vanilla and blueberries, but that's a whole 'nother post), but thicker, whiter, creamier. It goes well with sweet, savoury, salad, meaty...you name it. You can plop it on your fruit salad or scoop it onto a warm piece of Lebanese bread along with your bbq'ed meat and some salad. Dip your cucumber slices into it for a snack or have it with tortilla chips. Versatile much? Abso-labneh!
Now, this recipe called for Labneh (pronounced 'Lub-knee') which is, actually, my preferred kind. But I was feeling kinda lazy when I went to the shops today and didn't want to go to my local Lebanese Deli - a mistake which I will try not to make again.
So I saw this little item sitting all forlorn and lonely in its chilled section the other day and wondered if it was the same thing. So I Googled it (as you do) and it turns out that Lebne is the Egyptian word for its Lebanese sister. Confident that Professor Google had armed me with enough knowledge to take the yoghurt section by storm (and lazy-enough to make-do), I bought the Leben.
It's not the same.
This was a watery version of the dense, creamy yoghurt that I've come to know and love. So, where the recipe called for lite whipping cream, I just added the thickened cream. I'll know for next time.
I found this recipe in one of the most delicious blogs I've ever come across. Yasmeen is the very talented cook behind Wandering Spice. Her dishes are comforting and exotic and I always spend waaay too much time reading over her recipes and oooohing at her photos.
Ingredients (for 8 people):
2 cups plain Labneh (strained at home or purchased)
2 cups thickened whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, scraped)
1 tsp rose water
1 tsp rose water
4 heaping tbsp good-quality honey, plus more for drizzling
2½ tsp plain gelatin (powdered)
1 cup water
1 punnet of raspberries
Crushed pistachios, for garnish
Whisk together the labneh, honey, vanilla bean paste and rose water in a bowl, and set aside. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the gelatin with the water, and set aside 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Microwave the gelatin for 10 seconds, then mix into the yoghurt.
Whip the cream into soft peaks, and fold into the labneh mixture until just combined. Spoon into serving glasses or moulds, and set in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours (best overnight for a silky mousse texture). Drizzle with extra honey and top with raspberry and crushed pistachios, if desired.
Cooking time: None
Cost: <10, but I already had most of the ingredients in my pantry.
Would I cook it again?: In a heartbeat
What would I do differently next time?: Get my lazy-self to drive the 3 minutes longer to the Lebanese Deli and buy the good Labneh.