Published on September 17, 2015
"One of my favourite types of cuisine in the world is Middle Eastern. I love mezze: dips, breads, pickles, flavoured grilled meats, cheeses, beautiful salads and vegetables to share and enjoy at
leisure. Nadine and I wanted to design a simple Christmas menu around mezze, yet served in the traditional Kiwi style. One difference is the tarts, which are single portions, and not meant to
be shared. These are slightly tangy from the labneh, yet balanced by the strawberries and
a drizzle of vanilla syrup."
READY IN 1 hour 40 minutes (plus 24-36 hours to make labneh)
2 litres plain unsweetened yoghurt
Vi tsp sea salt
Vi tsp Heilala vanilla paste
4 Tbsp maple syrup
CHOCOLATE SPELT TARTS
85g coconut sugar (see Cook's
Notes page 76)
225g spelt flour
25g best quality cocoa
130g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp chilled water
500g fresh strawberries, trimmed
Maple syrup, for drizzling
Start this recipe at least a day ahead to make the labneh. Pour the yoghurt into a bowl, add the salt and mix together. Line a sieve with a double layer of paper towels and set over a bowl. Pour yoghurt into sieve, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum
of 36 hours. This process will create the labneh. You may need to tip out the whey from the bowl halfway through.
Once labneh is made, transfer it to a bowl and discard paper towels and whey.
Add vanilla and maple syrup to labneh and whisk together. Refrigerate until needed (it will keep for a few days).
To make the tarts, place the coconut sugar in a food processor and process until it resembles caster sugar or finer.
Add flour, cocoa and butter to the sugar and process until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add yolks and then chilled water. Process until just starting to clump. Form into a flat disc and wrap in
plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease six 10cm loose-bottomed, fluted tart tins or one large tart tin if you prefer.
Unwrap pastry and place between two sheets of baking paper. Roll out to 2.5mm thick. Use a large cutter or cut around an upturned bowl of the appropriate diameter to make tart
rounds. Gently press a pastry rovind into each tin. Trim the edges, prick the bases
and return to the fridge for 20 minutes.
Arrange tinfoil inside each tart case and fill with baking beans or weights. Blind bake in lower third of oven for 14 minutes, remove tinfoil and return to the oven for a further 9 minutes until just cooked. Allow to cool before removing tart cases from tins.
Fill each tart case with the labneh and top with fresh berries. Drizzle a little vanilla syrup over the top to finish