The beautiful weather we've been having means summer feels as though it is very much upon us. The official start of summer is only a few days away but it's still not to be taken for granted that Auckland's weather has been so lovely. November and December have still been rather chilly in past years.
Alright, enough with the weather-obsessed chat (is it a particular Auckland thing?), I'm here to share a sweet, rich, zingy, cute-as-button picnic treat. These tarts are the perfect wholesome little dessert. With a filling of sweet vanilla labne (that's a fancy name for strained Greek-yoghurt), a delicious nut crust and a topping of fresh strawberries (or whatever your heart desires), they'd be a gorgeous addition to a picnic spread or as a post-bbq dessert.
Labne is a great little ingredient. You simply strain Greek yoghurt through muslin until it is incredibly thick and luscious. From there follow the sweet or savoury path. I use coconut sugar, mauka honey or maple syrup for sweet dishes. Alternativly you can add salt and pepper plus a healthy helping of finely chopped herbs. This makes a fresh cheese that'll love a spot on any platter you're making this summer or can be rolled into balls and placed in a jar with olive oil - yum!!
This recipe is the latest in some food writing for my friends at Nautilus Estate. This dish is designed to be enjoyed with their wonderful Vintage Rose . As you can imagine, testing, cooking and shooting this one was an absolute pleasure.
I hope the silly season is not too frantic in your world. Hugs. Kelly xo
Strawberry & Labne Tarts w/ an Almond & Date Crust
Makes 9 tarts
1kg full-fat Greek yoghurt
½ cup light muscovado sugar or coconut sugar
1 ½ teaspoons good-quality vanilla essence
6-9 ripe strawberries - sliced
2 cups almond meal
½ cup desiccated coconut
¾ cup dried dates – soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes. Then drained well.
Place the yoghurt in a sieve lined with muslin. Sit this over a large bowl and place in the fridge to strain for around 15 hours. Discard the liquid and place the thickened yoghurt in a large bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
Add the almond meal, coconut and dates to a food processor. Run the machine until the dates are well combined and the texture is quite even.
Press the mixture into 9 well-greased holes of a 12-hole muffin tin. Take your time doing this – it can be a little fiddly. Each tart case should have a thickness of roughly ½ cm. I like to leave the top edge uneven and rustic but you can trim with a sharp knife if you prefer.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Watch closely as this nut base burns easily. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before removing by running a sharp knife around the edge. Allow to to cool completely before filling.
Fill the tart cases no more than 3 hours prior to serving. Top with strawberry slices.
Tip: Any leftover filling can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to