This recipe shows off some of the best of summer; highlighting the short lived fig season and fresh berries of summer. It's the perfect dessert for someone who doesn't have an aching sweet tooth.
Often vegan desserts are super homely and basic or way over the top technical and unachievable for an every day kitchen. This dessert sits nicely in between. There are a few fiddly bits and a little prep to do, but once the prep is done the dish comes together super quickly.
I made the labneh using my coconut yoghurt labneh recipe which you can find here and reducing the salt a little, I didn't add any sweetener to it as I wanted the labneh to be sharp and for the sweetness to come from the figs and syrup. The yoghurt I used for this one is called Pure Free, you can pick it up from Nina's IGA, it's thicker than Nudie and is a little richer and thus perfect for a dessert dish. Don't stress if you can't find it, Nudie will work too, or you could experiment with another coconut yoghurt variety. Make sure to strain with a good, heavy weight for the full two days, as you want the labneh to be thick and firm enough to quenelle.
If you want to make this dish quickly just serve everything on a big dollop of the Pure Free yoghurt and pour the syrup over the top, it will be a little sweet on sweet this way, and won't have the complexity the combination of sweet, salty and sharp making the labneh gives this dish, but it is quick and easy!
The berries I've used here are strawberries, raspberries and blackberries from the garden. You can use a combination of berries according to your preference, try to get a mix of colours and go for smaller strawberries for maximum visual impact.
Now, on to the recipe!
400g, roughly, of coconut yoghurt labneh. Recipe here.
8 ripe figs
1 punnet of strawberries, halved
1 punnet of raspberries
1 punnet of blackberries
A few sprigs of thyme or some shaved dark chocolate to garnish
1/2 cup of water
1/3 cup of preferred liquid syrup, I used maple but you may prefer rice malt or agave
1 green cardamom pod
1/2 tso cardamom seeds
1/2 cinnamon quill
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp of vanilla paste or extract, or go a bit fancy and scrape the seeds from two vanilla pods and pop the pods into the syrup too
1/4 cup of rosewater syrup
Pinch of salt
Two days before dessert make the labneh.
Next make the syrup by placing all the ingredients except the rosewater into a heavy based saucepan and bring up to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the syrup has reduced to a thick syrup consistency, it should be a little thicker than maple syrup as the addition of the rose water syrup will thin it.
Strain into a bowl and discard the hard spices, allow to cool then stir in the rose water syrup, whisking if necessary. Set aside to cool.
Grill the figs next. Use some spray oil on a grill pan, if you don't have a grill pan a regular pan will be OK too. Place on medium heat, when the pan is hot pop on the figs cut side down and grill for about 90 seconds, until you get a dark caramel colour on the flesh. Remove from the pan and put on a plate and set aside to cool.
Next prepare your berries.
Begin to dress your plates by placing about a tbsp worth of the syrup at the bottom of the bowl. Then add your figs, four halves per bowl, and carefully arrange your berries around the figs.
To top with the labneh remove the labneh from the fridge at the last possible moment, coconut yoghurt labneh is prone to melting, then use two table spoons to create three quenelles of yoghurt for each plate.
Finally gently pour the remaining syrup around the plate and garnish with fresh thyme leaves or with some shaved dark chocolate.
This recipe serves four people.