Baked Rhubarb with Labneh

I've been on a yogurt dessert kick lately. With rhubarb in season, I wanted to make something that could pair with yogurt and I came across the perfect recipe in my copy of Plenty More. Seriously, that book is a gem. I love the ideas for vegetables and grains in there and the curry leaf rice from the book even rivals my mom's rice pulao (don't tell her that, heh!).

This baked rhubarb with homemade yogurt cheese, labneh, is one of the easiest desserts to pull together. I'd say it could even substitute for breakfast, along with some eggs perhaps. The smell while baking rhubarb was reminiscent of ripe guavas and I couldn't wait to dig in. The sauce from the fruit pairs really well with the yogurt cheese and the crunchy pistachios are a perfect counterpoint to all the creaminess going on. I might even try adding some orange blossom water or rose water next to the rhubarb after baking next time just to give it a hit of floral fragrance. It would go really well with the pistachios I bet. I hope you try this dessert while rhubarb is still in season!

Recipe adapted from Plenty More, Yotam Ottolenghi
Makes 6 servings

900 gm (~2 lb) container whole milk yogurt
80 gm confectioners sugar (~2/3 cup)
400 gm trimmed rhubarb, cut into 2" pieces on the diagonal
1/2 cup moscato or orange juice
70 gm confectioners sugar
1 lemon, half rind shaved into strips and other half zested with a microplane zester
20 gm shelled raw pistachios, chopped

Mix whole milk yogurt with the confectioners sugar and pour it into a sieve lined with a nut milk bag set over a medium bowl. Squeeze the bag gently to remove whey and let it sit overnight in the fridge, squeezing every now and then (and also draining the whey so the labneh doesn't sit in whey). I drained for a total of 16 hours. The books says anywhere between 6 and max 18 hours is fine. I say go with the 16-18 range. You get a really nice thick yogurt cheese that way.
An hour before serving the dessert, preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the cut rhubarb with moscato, confectioners sugar & lemon rind strips in a baking pan that will fit the rhubarb snugly. BaKe for 20 minutes until just tender. Let cool for a bit. Zest the other half of the lemon over the labneh and mix it in. Divide the labneh into six bowls. Serve the rhubarb alongside the labneh and sprinkle chopped pistachios on top. Enjoy!


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