Strained Yogurt Pie
Labneh is one of the most popular cheeses in Lebanon. It is eaten during breakfast or dinner, and is an important part of the Lebanese mezza. When you drain the water from the yogurt (laban) you obtain a creamy cheese called labneh. This is done by filling a cheesecloth with the yogurt and leaving it to drain overnight over the sink. The amount of water that is extracted will determine its taste.
280 g (8 oz - 1 cup) of labneh
3 medium cucumbers sliced
3 medium tomatoes quartered
1 brunch of fresh mint leaves
20 black or green olives
60 ml (4 tablespoons) of olives oil
Salt to taste
Yields 4 pies.
Start with the dough. Divide into 4 equal pieces.
1- If labneh is not readily available, empty 1 kg (2 lb – 4 cups) of yogurt in a cheesecloth with one teaspoon of salt. Drain overnight over a sink.
2- Tap the dough with your fingertips or poke holes with a fork to prevent air pockets from forming.
3- Cook the dough on the hot griddle or convex disk. The time of cooking depends on source of heat; 3 to 5 minutes should be enough
4- If the cooking method to be used is the conventional cooking oven, preheat the oven to 220 oC (425oF – Gas mark 7). Bake for 7 to 10 minutes.
5- Spread the labneh on the cooked dough.
6- Top with quartered tomatoes, fresh mint leaves, and olives.
7- Pour one tablespoon of olive oil on each pie. Add salt to taste.
Here the flavor of fresh labneh mixed with tomato, mint leaves, cucumber and olives, all topped with olive oil creates a taste you can only find in Lebanon.