Make Ahead

Spiced Plum Cheese Round

August  4, 2010
Author Notes

Ever since I discovered a Middle Eastern homemade yogurt cheese recipe aka Labneh, I've made batch after batch. The smooth, creamy hung yogurt, flavoured with a touch of sel de gris forms a good base for the topping of spiced plums. Think breakfast, cheese course or snacks, with crackers, crisp breads, pita chips and whatever else you can dream up. I used low fat yogurt (3.5%) but full fat works very well too. - Kitchen Butterfly —Kitchen Butterfly

Test Kitchen Notes

I'm a sucker for tart fruit, creamy cheese and something crispy. So this dish really fit the bill for me. The spicing on the plums was subtle enough to work in sweet (like in a fruit tart), and savory (on a cheese plate or with roast pork), applications. For North American cooks: 250 Celsius is a super hot oven (475-480°F degrees). For my labneh, I drained a whole quart of regular full fat organic yogurt and ended up with 2 cups of labneh, and used about 1/3-1/2 cup of it per portion. - Savorykitchen —The Editors

  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • Spiced Plum Cheese Round
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon ginger wine or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 plums (I used red plums), stoned and cut into eights
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 portion Labneh (recipe below)
  • thyme sprigs, for garnish
  • flaked almonds, for garnish
  • Labneh - Yogurt Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Thick Greek or Turkish yogurt (not Greek-style)
  • Pinch of salt
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Spiced Plum Cheese Round
  2. Preheat your oven to 250 deg C. Mix the maple syrup, ginger wine or grated ginger, cardamom powder, orange zest and pinch of cayenne pepper. Toss the plum eights in the maple syrup mix and place in a bowl that just contains the mix so they plums 'stew' in the juices while they bake.
  3. Place the plums in the centre of the oven and bake 15 - 20 minutes or until soft.
  4. Remove from the oven and stir in the fresh thyme leaves, then leave to cool.
  5. When the plum mixture is cold, spread the Labneh halfway into the base of a 5-6 cm ring or use a ramekin and top the other half with the spiced plums. Return to the refrigerator till ready to serve.
  6. Serve with toasted flaked almonds and thyme sprigs
  1. Labneh - Yogurt Cheese
  2. Stir the yogurt well and season with a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust. You want a hint of the sea and not a gulp. The salt helps draw out the whey (think of cucumbers& aubergines).
  3. Place the yogurt in the centre of a muslin/cheesecloth folded 4 times (or line a sieve with coffee filters). Gather up the ends of the cloth and tie up tight, gently forming a ball. The whey will begin to drip as soon as you begin.
  4. Pass a skewer through the tie/knot and hang over a deep bowl. and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next morning, much of the whey will have drained out leaving you creamy yogurt cheese. Keep the whey in the fridge and stir into your breakfast cereal, smoothies or back into yogurt or find out a myriad other ways to use it – it is rich in protein. Remember Little Miss Muffet?

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Review
For the first 9 years of my life I hated food and really loved sugar till Wimpy (British Fast Food chain) changed my life! These days, all grown up, I've junked junk food and spend my days and nights on a quest - to find and share the sweet, sweet nectar that's food in The #NewNigerianKitchen! Dreaming, cooking, eating and writing...about and adoring a strong food community that's big and bold enough to embrace the world's diverse cuisines - I'm passionate about celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety. Why do I love food so? It is forgiving. Make a recipe. Have it go bad....but wake up tomorrow and you can have another go at succeeding! Only with food!