Monday, September 22, 2014
Labneh Cheesecake with Honeyed Figs
Those of you familiar with labneh are now racing to the bottom of this article to find where you can get your hands on it. For the uninitiated, I shall explain. Lebnah is a Middle Eastern yogurt cheese. Basically, think Greek style yogurt but even more strained. Thick, almost a cream cheese consistency, rich and tart and heavenly tasting. It's usually drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with za'atar (more on this wonderful spice soon) and served as a dip with pita bread. It was many years since I'd had it but I never forgot.
When I finally finished it all, I was bemoaning that fact to my friend, Susan, who writes The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen and she directed me to her homemade labneh recipe. Ever since then, my refrigerator has been filled with various bundles of Greek yogurt, wrapped in cheesecloth, dripping away into bowls and becoming labneh. My life is much happier now. And since I no longer had to horde my precious stash, I was free to experiment with using the labneh for something other than just shoving it into my mouth as often as possible.
And now my life is even happier still because it makes a wonderful cheesecake. A little tangier than what you'd get with cream cheese but the perfect foil for the candy-like honeyed figs. Sweet and tart and addictive. Enjoy!
6 Graham cracker sheets
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt
1 Cup labneh (store bought or see Susan's recipe here)
1/3 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 Cup sour cream
1/4 Cup flour
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Teaspoon lemon zest
1 Teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 Teaspoon salt
4 Figs, halved
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
4 Tablespoons water
Pinch of salt
Use a paper towel to wipe out the bowl of the food processor and add all the filling ingredients. Puree until completely smooth and pour into the prepared crust.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and allow to cool completely, or overnight, before removing from the pan.
When ready to serve, prepare the topping by adding the sugar, honey and water to a sauce pan. Heat on medium just until the sugar dissolves then add the sliced figs. Continue to cook on medium for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let stand for another 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Place the figs on top of the cheesecake and pour on the honey sauce. Makes approximately 8 servings.