Some people are organized. They write weekly menus, always remember their appointments, and plan everything. Then there are those of us who fly by the seat of their pants. No organization whatsoever. That would be me.
So it should come as no surprise that I didn't plan for this recipe. Labneh, a firm white cloud of strained Greek yogurt, is a beautiful thing, but it takes 24 hours to make. You have to actually plan for it. I have high hopes that one day I'll get my act together and make labneh in advance. Until then, I will continue to use Greek yogurt as a replacement. It certainly works in a pinch!
This is really a beautiful and somewhat exotic dessert. Ripe juicy mango served with a side of creamy sweetened Greek yogurt, a heavenly syrup scented with orange flower water, and a sprinkling of crushed pistachios. The sweet orange fragrance, the juicy mangoes, and the sticky syrup all make this dessert a little on the seductive side. It's the type of thing that keeps you begging for more.
Mangoes with Orange Blossom Syrup and Sweet Labneh
Adapted from Crazy Water Pickled Lemons
by Diana Henry
3 just ripe mangoes
finely chopped pistachios for serving
For The Labneh
1-1/2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
a pinch of ground cinnamon
10oz Greek yogurt
For The Syrup
6 tablespoons orange blossom honey
3 tablespoons orange juice
a good squeeze of lime juice
1-1/2 tablespoons orange flower water
To make the labneh: Add the sugar and cinnamon to the yogurt, put into a sieve lined with cheesecloth, and set it over a bowl in the fridge. Let the yogurt drain for 24 hours, giving it a little help every so often by picking up the bag and squeezing it.
To make the syrup: Gently heat the honey, orange, and lime juices together in a small saucepan. Once the honey has melted, boil for 1 minute. Add the orange flower water and taste. Leave to cool.
Peel the mangoes and, using a really sharp knife, neatly slice the cheeks from each side of the stone. Working along the shape of the stone, slice the flesh off the sides. Cut the mango flesh into neat slices, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick, and pile them on top of each other on different plates.
Peel the cheesecloth from around the labneh, then divide it into quarters. It isn't important, but the cheesecloth leaves such beautiful markings on the labneh that it's nice not to spoil it. Put a chunk of labneh beside each plate of mangoes, spoon the syrup over the top, and scatter with pistachios.
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