If you’re making it from scratch, add a little something you fermented yourself. Award-winning baker and fermentation expert Charlotte Pike has a new book out that guides you through the steps of this near-magical natural process that yields worldwide culinary staples like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles, then serves up a wide variety of recipes incorporating your tart homemade fare. Labneh is a kind of strained yogurt, thicker than traditional Greek, that’s popular in the Middle East and packs a tangy punch. Spread it on a puff pastry with vegetables for a light but hearty meal.
This tart is incredibly easy to make and looks so elegant. It’s delicious served with a salad as a main meal, or you could wrap a slice in foil to take out with you as a packed lunch.
- 1 13-ounce pack of ready-made, ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1/4 cup Savory Labneh
- 1 tablespoon milk or 1 egg, beaten
- 2 large or 6 baby zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced at an angle, approximately 2 inches thick
- 3 tablespoons parmesan, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1 2-pound tub of organic whole milk or Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
For the labneh
Place the yogurt in a mixing bowl and beat in the salt.
Set a sieve over a large mixing bowl. Drape a large cheesecloth over the surface, so that the base of the sieve is fully lined and the sides of the cheesecloth hang down over the sides of the bowl.
Spoon the yogurt into the center of the cheesecloth, gather up the sides, and tie them tightly with string just above the yogurt. Leave the lengths of string long to tie it up.
Suspend the cheesecloth bag over the mixing bowl by tying it in a position where it can hang and the whey can drip into the bowl. I do this at home by tying the cheesecloth bag onto a cupboard handle over the countertop. Some people like to tie it to a faucet and sit the bowl in the sink below. Set aside in a cool place overnight, during which time the whey will drip through the cheesecloth.
The contents of the cheesecloth bag is your labneh. In the morning, pour the labneh into a clean earthenware or glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in the fridge until needed. (It is helpful to weigh how much labneh you have made at this point so that you can make up any recipes accordingly.)
The labneh will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days.
For the tart
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Unroll the puff pastry onto a large baking sheet. Take a sharp knife and score a border around the edge of the pastry, running roughly 1 inch parallel to the sides.
Spread the labneh over the middle of the pastry, taking it up to, but not over, the pastry border. Brush the border with a little milk or beaten egg, and season the labneh all over with salt and pepper.
Now, arrange the zucchini slices over the labneh, ensuring the labneh is covered. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the surface and scatter over some thyme leaves.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, by which time the border should have puffed up nicely and the topping will be golden brown. Serve immediately while still hot; it is also good cold the following day.