good morning, and happy tuesday to you.
it seems i’m getting into a habit of making tuesdays’ posts about breakfast. which is good, since it will hopefully give you some ideas of what to feed yourself and your tribe as you all head out into the world this week. the day has to be good when you’ve started it off with a lovely and civilized breakfast together!
yogurt is a breakfast natural, and this recipe really shakes it up. labneh is a middle-eastern dish, and is essentially yogurt that has been allowed to drain. it’s most often served in a savoury fashion, scattered with spices and a drizzle of olive oil, but it cries out to be eaten with fruit and cheese for breakfast! when choosing yogurt to make the labneh, make sure you choose natural, plain, full-fat yogurt, free of gelatin and starchy stabilizers. anything from 3% milk fat all the way up to 10% works fine.
it’s a fairly well-known that balsamic vinegar pairs really beautifully with fruit. something else i discovered a long time ago is that if you reduce white balsamic vinegar, it becomes a luscious, amber-coloured nectar, with a perfectly balanced sweet and tangy flavour. that’s how we made the apricots for this. trust me people, you’re going to love this!
to tie is all together, i’ve made some breakfast crackers, full of almonds, flaxseeds, and cranberries. this recipe makes a lot, so you’ll have some left over for snacks. they’re not too sweet, and perfect for scooping up the labneh and those succulent apricots. they are made by baking a batter into a loaf, cooling and slicing it thin, then baking the slices a second time to make them crisp. if you happen to have a little terrine pan or a pullman pan, it’s perfect for this. if not, use a regular loaf pan, but cut each slice into 2 pieces before baking a second time, so they’re not too big. if you happen to have access to a meat slicer, perfect! but a bread knife works just fine to make the thin slices.
this recipe is meant to be made ahead of time, so you have all the components ready to go in the morning. with a breakfast like this to start the day, only good things can happen. xx
labneh with star anise apricots + breakfast crackers
1 750g container of plain, full-fat natural yogurt
1 500ml bottle white balsamic vinegar
1 cup dried apricots, sliced in half (or fresh, if they are in season)
4 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
for the breakfast crackers:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
line a non-reactive strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and place over a bowl. dump in the yogurt, put the whole thing in the fridge, and allow it to drain for 6-8 hours or overnight. transfer the drained yogurt to a bowl, discarding the liquid, and stir the labneh to make it smooth.
gather your ingredients for the breakfast crackers. preheat oven to 375f and grease and line a terrine pan or loaf pan with parchment. mix together all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermik. give the mixture a few good stirs to combine, but don’t overmix. scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. cool completely on a rack.
when cool, use a serrated knife to slice as thinly as you can. lay the slices on a rack and bake in a 350f oven for 10 minutes, or until they are almost crisp (they will crisp more as they cool). cool completely and store in a covered container in a dry place.
empty the white balsamic vinegar into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. add the anise and cinnamon stick and boil down until reduced by half. add the apricots, reduce heat to medium, and cook until juices are syrupy. cool in the syrup, and keep in the fridge. remove anise and cinnamon before serving.
serve the labneh with a spoonful of the apricots and the breakfast crackers on the side. serves 4, with a generous amount of crisps left over for snacking.
**the crackers, (and also the apricots) would enjoy a frolic with some soft, brie-like cheese, or any type of blue cheese on a cheese plate, too.