Labneh has made its fair share of appearances on this blog. Here it is getting friendly with some falafel and here it is curling up in some tortellini. But in each instance, the labneh has been left to thrive in all its natural savory glory. So, out of fear of becoming repetitive, I’ve decided to put a sweet spin on it and today’s Honey Cardamom Labneh is the result. Consider this to be my one and only January-friendly dessert offering. Healthy desserts that don’t leave you wanting are not my forte. Now, sugary debaucherous affairs? That’s where my true talents lie.Jump to Recipe
But January belongs to the virtuous, so today we’re talking about this thick, silky and sweet labneh. Now, healthy by no means calls for low fat. I am passionately opposed to low-fat substitutions because the lack of fat is usually replaced by either sugar or aspartame, which, apart from tasting kind of yucky, isn’t the best for your health or your the waistline. And naturally occurring fat isn’t bad for you. It’s not. I mean, don’t eat a stack of onion rings on the daily or anything, but please, buy the full-fat yogurt if you’re going to have yogurt. Basically, if you’re going to eat it, jump in with both feet. Not literally, of course, because gross.
If you’ve made any of my other labneh recipes, the steps involved in today’s Honey Cardamom Labneh will look familiar to you. Essentially, you season the yogurt with your chosen flavorings, honey and cardamom in this case, and stir. Then you pile your freshly mixed yogurt on top of several layers of cheesecloth, fold the lot into a bundle and suspend it over a sink or a large bowl. The next morning you will have lush, thick, spreadable labneh. Think of labneh as a sort of yogurt concentrate with the texture of cream cheese. Good, right?
Now, you could stop here and finish your Honey Cardamom labneh with a simple drizzle of honey, a smattering of fresh fruit and sprinkle of good quality granola. Or you could be extra with me and add the Clementine Curd. I think you can guess which one I’m going to suggest.
The labneh by itself is not particularly sweet. I held back significantly when I initially stirred the first of honey into the unadorned yogurt. I didn’t want the sweetness to interfere with the tang of labneh that I love so dearly. But having done that, it would be easy to confuse this Honey Cardamom Labneh with breakfast rather than
With only 1/2 a cup of sugar in a whack of curd, the clementine curd is a healthy-ish way to add sweetness to what could be an austere dessert. True, labneh and curd have similar consistencies, but when you place them in contrast with one another, their differences leap forth. The curd, with all its butter, melts more readily on the tongue. And the curd’s flavor is less in-your-face than labneh’s. The clementine curd is, in fact, less in-your-face than most other curds due to the sweet,
After the Honey Cardamom Labneh and Clementine Curd are swirled together, there is nothing left to do but add toppings. I went with clementine pulp, fresh blackberries, granola, and fresh mint but you can really let your imagination run wild here. For instance, I think honey puffed wheat, sliced strawberries, and roasted almonds would be a treat here. Or how about pistachios, dried apricots and sesame brittle. Your only limitation is the number of toppings your brain can cook up.
It’s probably painfully apparent that I find healthy desserts somewhat perplexing. The phrase “healthy dessert” itself feels like an oxymoron. Dessert should be an indulgence, not an atonement. But I know some of you made promises to yourselves and I respect that. I also know that healthy food is in fact capable of tasting good if properly handled. Hopefully, I’ve handled- again, not literally – this Honey Cardamom Labneh well enough to make it palatable and, fingers crossed, indulgent even.
But if you find yourself rolling your eyes at the concept of a “January-friendly” dessert (been there), you have to admit it does make for a pretty dish. And sometimes all we need, particularly in the bleak midwinter, is a little color on the plate. But having eaten this Honey Cardamom Labneh with Clementine Curd, I can safely say it does taste like dessert. It may not be my desert island dessert but it’s good. And really, you can’t compare the likes of yogurt to a brownie sundae, it’s just not fair.
So, that’s everything you need to know about my attempt at a healthy dessert. Trust me, this dish is worth your time even if you’re living your life resolution-free.
Honey Cardamom Labneh with Clementine Curd
Honey Cardamom Labneh
- 750g (26.5oz) Greek Yogurt 3% MF or more
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 clementines
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter cubed
- 1-2 cups granola
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- 1 clementine
Honey Cardamom Labneh
- Pour the yogurt in a large bowl and set aside. Using a knife, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the blunt end of the knife, scrape out the caviar and add it to the bowl. Set the pod aside.
- Add the honey, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon to the yogurt and stir to combine. Transfer the yogurt to a bowl lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth. Place the vanilla pod on top and form it into a bundle. Fasten with butcher’s twine and suspend from a shelf in your fridge or your kitchen faucet. If hanging in your fridge be sure to place a bowl underneath. Leave the yogurt to drain for 8 hours.
- Unbundle your labneh, remove the vanilla pod and transfer to a bowl. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Roughly 3 hours out from serving, make the curd. Zest two of the clementines and place it in a small saucepan. Add the juice of all 5 of the clementines and the juice of one lemon. Whisk in the sugar and the salt and place over medium-low heat.
- While the juice mixture is heating, whisk the cornstarch into the eggs and egg yolks until pale yellow. Add a ladleful of the hot juice mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Repeat with another ladleful and pour the resulting mixture into the saucepan.
- Cook the curd until it’s thick enough to readily coat the back of a spoon. Remove the curd from the heat and add the butter, whisking until it melts completely and is fully integrated.
- Transfer the curd to a bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours or until ready to serve.
- Take 2 heaping tablespoons of the labneh and pile it into the corner of a bowl. Using an offset spatula, spread the labneh along the base of the bowl to form a sort of swoosh. Add 1 tablespoon of the curd on top of the labneh and trace its shape.
- Pile the granola, blackberries and mint leaves into the vacant area of the bowl. You can add whole segments of the clementine or you can remove the skin and decorate with the pulp.
- Serve immediately with something equally health conscious. I don’t know, water?