Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The little white dress - Lebni tart

In Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, she described this tart as the dessert equivalent of "the little white dress". It had me reminiscing about Alicia Silverstone and the white Calvin Klein slip she wore in the movie "Clueless" - fresh, innocent and desirable.

This tart is all that minus the teenage superficiality, identity confusion and "*gasp*I have nothing to wear!".

If you enjoy cheesecake but not the idea of how swiftly it finds its way to your thighs, hips and bum, then this tart is for you. Not entirely guilt-free, but I believe it packs fewer calories than your standard New York slice. It is made from lebni (aka lebna, labneh, lebeneh), a pasteurised yogurt cheese. Since this is hard to find in Perth, I decided to make my own by simply straining 2 cups* of thick, whole-milk natural yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined sieve overnight, sans salt. The result is a very smooth, rather tart and extremely light version of cream cheese.

As its moisture drains under its own weight, the flavours of the yogurt become more pronounced so should you decide to make your own lebni, choose a very good natural full-fat yogurt that you enjoy eating.

I used the recipe in the book as a guide making little alterations** here and there to suit my taste. Of course, I felt a little uncertain of the outcome as I have never used lebni (store-bought or home-made) in baked goods before.

The result is an ivory-coloured, silken-textured filling delicately scented with honey and vanilla set in a crisp sweet tart shell. A noticeable tanginess of yogurt is present and it had me wondering how well it would partner with a crisp amber toffee a la creme brulee or topped with caramleised pineapples.

This is definately a keeper.

* 2 cups of full-fat natural yogurt yield about 1 1/2 cups of lebni after straining overnight in the fridge

** i substituted the quantity of sugar in the recipe with just under 1/4 cup of raw honey and replace the 3 eggs with one whole large egg and one yolk.

1 comment:

Shen-Li said...

Maybe 'cause I'm a sweet tooth, but I always like your dessert photos more... :-p