If you think I am going overboard with challenges these days, then please feel free to think so! 🙂 Next month, I am travelling home, so I am going to leave an empty blog behind for you, but making sure that there is plenty to read and explore for all of you out there.
I am participating in the AtoZ challenge this month. The challenge is hosted by Vidya and Jolly, and happens every two months, where we follow the alphabets, cook with an ingredient that is supposed to be the star of the dish. You can find the challenge posts done previously here. This month, the letter is “H” and the ingredient I chose to cook with is nothing but “Honey”.
I am sure there is no home that doesn’t have a bottle of honey hiding somewhere in the pantry. Apart from being a natural sweetener, it is known for its healing properties and general goodness. In my home, I have two camps. Rasha can’t stand the smell or taste of honey, while Azza can sit with the bottle and gobble down spoon after spoon – Winnie the Pooh style! 😉 When I chose to make our weekend dessert with honey, I was surely worried that Rasha might not eat it, but I thought, “Come what may, let’s do it!”
I had this pack of labneh I had leftover after making the Spinach Labneh Rolls. I had so many ideas floating in my mind regarding what all to make with it. When Vidya posted regarding the participation, I was thinking of pairing the labneh with honey. Arabs do eat labneh topped with honey and some dry fruits and nuts like a dessert, so I was sure it would be an amazing combination. Thinking a bit further, I was wondering, “Why not a pannacotta?” It’s been so long since I had made one, so got to making it.
Pannacotta is an Italian cream rich dessert which is set using gelatin. There are already a few recipes on the blog – the basic one flavored with vanilla, a rose flavored one and a mango one. Usually the success of a pannacotta is determined by how sturdy your desert looks, yet when you run your spoon, it has to be as smooth as silk and melt in the mouth. With the way gelatin is as a dicey ingredient to work with, getting the sturdy appearance does become a challenge, but the smoothness would surely be there. 🙂
For today’s recipe, I replaced a part of the cream with the labneh. I sweetened the pannacotta with honey and spiked it with some orange blossom water for flavor. While it set in the fridge, I thought I was keeping it too simple, so got to making a sauce to pour over it for an extra oomph. In 2 hours, we had a small portion of dessert, with the sauce poured over. It looked stunning and I was amazed it tasted lovely too. The labneh gave a slight salty tinge and the honey levelled up everything. The honey hater Rasha had her portion with the sauce, which did leave me a bit shocked. Maybe as she is growing, her taste buds are getting refined. 🙂
The only little problem I had was my gelatin not setting. Maybe because it was closer to its expiry date. It did hold shape for sometime, but quickly melted off. By the way, it is mighty hot here and as I was shooting, the room was quite humid and it made the dessert so flowy that I couldn’t take a picture of a spoonful. 🙁 But melty or not, the flavors and the sweetness was bang on and this is surely a dessert for the honey lover. Off to this simple recipe…
- 180 gm pack labneh
- 125 ml thick cream
- ⅓ cup milk
- 3 tbsp honey
- ⅓ cup water
- 1½ tsp gelatin
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 15 gm butter
- ⅓ cup walnuts
- In a saucepan, whisk the labneh, cream and milk till smooth. Bring to heat - do not boil.
- Heat the water in the microwave and stir in the gelatin till bloomed.
- Add the gelatin water into the hot mixture and cook for a further of 2 minutes. Switch off.
- Pour into moulds and allow it to cool. I poured into 6 small moulds.
- Refrigerate till set.
- Meanwhile, to make the sauce, bring the sugar and water to boil. Add the honey and boil till slightly thickened. Add the butter and walnut and cook for another minute. Switch off and allow to come to room temperature.
- To serve, run a knife around the mould and slowly demould onto the serving dish. Top with the honey walnut sauce. Enjoy!