Alice Medrich's Labneh (Lebni, Labni) Tart

March 27, 2013
1 Rating
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

True to the splendid original except for these deviations: the labneh is increased from 12 to 16 ounces; the sugar is decreased, ever so slightly, by two tablespoons. (Depending on the tang of your labneh, you may want more or less sugar.) Medrich also moisture-proofs the crust by brushing it with a beaten egg yolk (and a pinch of salt) after it prebakes. When I make the tart, I skip this step, but if you want to follow it, simply return the tart to the oven for a minute after brushing to set the egg yolk. —Nicholas Day

  • Makes 1 tart
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (4.5 ounces)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces labneh (aka: lebni, labni, kefir cheese)
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Find your tart pan (9 and 1/2 inch with a removable bottom)
  2. In a bowl, combine the butter with the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until well blended. (If the dough is too soft, let it sit for several minutes.) Press the dough evenly over the bottom and sides of the tart pan; there will be just enough for a thin layer. Place the pan on a cookie sheet.
  3. Bake until the crust is a deep, golden brown, 20-25 minutes. If the dough begins to inflate after about 15 minutes, press it down with the back of a fork and prick it. When the crust is finished, remove it from the oven and lower the heat to 300.
  4. While the crust is in the oven, make the filling, whisking together in this order: the eggs with the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Then whisk in the labneh.
  5. Pour the filling into the hot crust, spreading it evenly. Bake until the filling is set around the edges but quivers in the middle, about 15 to 20 minutes. This is crucial: check it several times in the last few minutes; be careful not to overbake. Cool on a rack; if not serving within three hours, refrigerate.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Austin Burges
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  • Laura415
I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.

    16 Reviews

    Julie July 26, 2020
    Excellent tart but I would make a thicker dough. The tart needed the crunch, doubling it wouldn’t be too much, just make sure you bake it thoroughly. I added raspberries and blueberries to the plate when serving. Not overly sweet, it was a huge hit.
    tatiana131 June 18, 2020
    Great tart - tangier and less rich than cheesecake, not overly sweet. Fantastic with a little fruit topping.
    Austin B. July 10, 2019
    Could this work as a breakfast/brunch dish, or is it best suited for dessert?
    ColleenN March 18, 2017
    I have this cookbook and have made this wonderful tart several times, but my crust always seems super oily before I put it in the pan. Is that how your crust dough is before baking? Do you chill or line the dough before baking?
    emcsull January 11, 2017
    how solid does the labneh have to be ? Make my own kefir and could try to make cheese from it
    jakestavis January 23, 2016
    adapted this recipe as a filling for Danish (used the NYT basic danish dough recipe) and it was great! I did half as written with lemon zest and poppy seeds, and half unsweetened with zaatar and sundried tomato.
    Dima H. July 4, 2013
    Hmm interesting recipe! I am a Jordanian and labaneh soft and hard are an essential part of our diet(I prefer hard labaneh from a city called Jarash in Jordan it has more flavor, saltier, tangier and it is preserved in olive oil), but I never thought of making a desert out of it ... I must give this a try.
    Bluerroses November 18, 2015
    I'm a labneh or labneh fanatic and eat it every day. I live in San Francisco and have never seen hard labanah. I'm curious and will try to track it down or make it. How do you use it?
    Laura415 March 4, 2016
    I don't know if they have hard lebnah here but I get a lot of middle eastern ingredients at this store in the Mission district called Samiramis.
    I usually make my own soft lebneh by draining regular yogurt in a strainer or cheesecloth until it is my desired thickness. (drink the whey with a little honey in it-delicious)
    Maybe hard lebneh is simply soft lebneh seasoned and drained longer? I would put salt and zaatar and any other flavorings in at the soft lebneh stage (12 hours) and let it hang and drain for another day until really stiff and drained. Roll into balls and store in olive oil.
    Bluerroses March 4, 2016
    I shop there as well Laura415, it's a great store! I know they have several brands of lebneh, but I usually buy Byblos brand. I guess lebneh is just drained yoghurt, but it is milder than greek yoghurt. According to Wikipedia, in the Middle East, people make very thick lebneh, which rolled into balls, coated with herbs or spices, and stored in olive oil. Bedouin make hard Lebneh, which is dry and can be stored.
    Beth100 April 5, 2013
    This looks divine! Could you please explain the why behind the increase from 12 to 15 oz of lebneh? Thanks so much!
    sasha K. March 31, 2013
    Would it work as well to strain some yoghurt in the fridge overnight for the lebneh? It seems to me that is what lebneh is in the first place.
    Author Comment
    Nicholas D. April 1, 2013
    Yep! See Rivka's instructions here:
    Bluerroses November 18, 2015
    I'm sure it would work but the flavor would be less mellow.
    copywolf March 31, 2013
    Incredibly easy and delicious. Couldn't believe the crust technique worked so well. Added a bit of Meyer lemon zest to the filling, topped with sliced strawberries. I will definitely make it again.
    Barbie V. March 31, 2013
    Thanks Nicholas. I don't have a dessert for Easter Sunday (today) so I'm going to give this a try!