Roasted Grapes with Sweet Labneh from Tara O’Brady
Blogger Tara O’Brady brings us food we want to read about, look at and eat every day. Her way with ingredients is straightforward and restrained with the tastes, colors and textures always spot-on. Nothing extraneous yet her dishes are packed with enticing flavor. Look at this dessert. Roasted grapes. Simple. Yet the technique concentrates the natural sugars and makes for more than a sum of its parts. Labneh is a thick, strained yogurt, which you can make by straining Greek yogurt of most of its whey. Her Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream is equally delectable. Both are from her book, Seven Spoons.
Reprinted with permission from Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Dayby Tara O’Brady, copyright (c) 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2015 by Tara O’Brady.
Truly compelling but dead simple. Sticky fruit, warm cream, crushed cookies, and booze. And it needn’t be this fruit, this alcohol, or even these cookies. Grab figs, strawberries, rhubarb, pineapple, or sour cherries. Add herbs and spices to the fruit or the sugar— rosemary, thyme, Chinese five-spice powder, and ground coriander work very well with fruit. Try other alcohols, like marsala, gin, or liqueurs, either before cooking or at the end. Or enlist ginger snaps, meringues, or sugar cookies for crunch.
- 2½ cups (590 g) labneh
- Zest from ½ orange, finely grated
- ⅓ cup (75 g) packed Demerara sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons grappa
- 1 pound (455 g) seedless table grapes
- Amaretti or shortbread, to serve
- AUTHOR NOTE: If you make your own labneh, layer with sugar during its initial straining process.
- Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).
- To make the labneh, rub the orange zest into the Demerara sugar. Fold the labneh into the sugar mixture until lightly veined. If the labneh isn’t firm, carefully scrape it into a cheesecloth- lined strainer set over a bowl. Then cover and refrigerate until it is stable enough to form and hold a clean peak (this may only take 10 minutes or up to an hour, depending on how damp the labneh was to start with). Spread the labneh in ripples on an ovenproof plate. Sprinkle with more Demerara.
- To make the grapes, thin the honey with the grappa in a large bowl. Snip the grapes into clusters and add to the bowl. Turn the grapes in the syrup, then transfer to a roasting pan with a shallow rim.
- Place the grapes and labneh side by side in the hot oven and roast until the grapes start to shrivel and the labneh is set and golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Carefully set the grapes atop the labneh and spoon the collected pan juices over all. Serve with the cookies, crushed or whole.