If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I am a big fan of yogurt. It is my favorite breakfast, and I always use Stonyfield’s plain yogurt and dress it up based on the season, adding honey, maple syrup or agave nectar, all manner of nuts and seeds, and berries and jams and compotes for days. So when Stonyfield sent me a copy of Cheryl Sternman Rule’s new book, Yogurt Culture (get it?!), I immediately plunged in to learn more about one of my favorite ingredients.
Cheryl is behind the blog 5 Second Rule (Another pun! How great is she?), which I have followed for a long time. Her book is really well researched, and she delves into this history of yogurt and how it plays a part in the cultures in various countries around the world. There are 115 recipes where yogurt is the star of the dish, from breakfast to dinner to dessert. This is a dessert blog, but… Labneh-Stuffed Peppers with Feta and Pistachio? Get in my mouth. And there are a bunch of recipes for things to accompany my morning yogurt! Cheryl is my new fave.
Yogurt Culture also tells you how to make your own yogurt, Greek yogurt, and Labneh. Truthfully, despite my love of yogurt, I didn’t know much about the difference between the three. Turns out, it’s all about straining. If I had known sooner that I could turn regular yogurt into Greek yogurt just by straining it overnight, I wouldn’t have been wasting money all these years!
In the Bake chapter of the book, Cheryl has a recipe for a Plum Tart where the filling is drained Greek yogurt. I was so inspired by using yogurt as a filling, I had to try it out myself. Since Stonyfield doesn’t make a full-fat Greek yogurt right now, I decided to take matters into my own hands and strain the whey out of their plain whole fat regular yogurt for an extra long time. I started straining at about 5:00 PM one night and let the bowl rest in the refrigerator until the next morning, so it was about 15 hours total.
When I fetched the bowl from the fridge, I had wonderfully creamy, thick yogurt in my nut milk bag and lots of whey in the catch-bowl. I had learned some uses for the whey from the book, so I put it to good use in a smoothie. Waste not, want not!
OXO had sent along a lovely little 9-inch whisk to help with my baking. I know it’s just a whisk, but I am actually pretty excited about it. I have owned two full-sized whisks for years: one from OXO and one from a restaurant supply store. I sooo prefer the OXO one. It just fits better in my hand, and I like the grippy handle. So I had high hopes for the mini whisk they sent me, and it didn’t disappoint! The wires are thin but firm, and I’ve been using it for everything where I would normally use a fork to whisk things up. Pro Tip: A whisk does a much better job than a fork! It was perfect for incorporating honey and vanilla beans into my yogurt filling.
I decided to pair my yogurt filling with some Kirsch-poached rhubarb (which I finally found for a decent price!), and I piled them both into a toasted almond crust. It tastes so light and springy! Compared to a tart with a custard filling, this is definitely healthier, but it still tastes like a million bucks (or a million calories, should I say?). And when dessert can have some health benefits, like probiotics, lots of protein, and the multitude of other health benefits from rhubarb and yogurt, all the better.
- 2 cups plain whole milk yogurt (I prefer Stonyfield brand)
- ½ cup (75 grams) raw almonds
- 1½ cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (60 grams) confectioners' sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 9 tablespoons (130 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and frozen
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup Kirsch
- seeds from 2 vanilla beans, divided
- ¾ pound rhubarb stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons honey
- The night before you want to eat the tart, rest a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Place a nut milk bag into the fine mesh strainer (or line the strainer with a few layers of damp cheesecloth or [dry] paper towels.) Spoon the yogurt into the nut milk bag/cheesecloth, cover the entire bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, at least 8 hours and up to 15 hours. In the morning, transfer the strained yogurt to a small mixing bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Reserve the whey (the liquid strained from the yogurt) for another use, or discard it.
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.* Allow almonds to cool on the pan on a wire rack.
- Raise the oven temperature to 375°F.
- In the bowl of a food processor, grind the almonds into a fine powder. Add flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt to the food processor and pulse until thoroughly mixed.
- Sprinkle frozen butter cubes over the top of the flour mixture. Pulse until the largest butter chunks are about the size of peas, 6-8 pulses. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg to break the yolk, then add the egg to the food processor. Pulse for 5 seconds at a time until the dough begins to clump together (the food processor's sound will change when this happens).
- Turn the dough out into a rectangular tart pan and press it evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim the excess dough from the top with a paring knife to create an even edge. Pierce the bottoms and sides of the crust with a fork and freeze in the pan while you prepare the rhubarb (at least 30 minutes).
- In a square baking dish, mix together the kirsch, sugar, and the seeds from 1 vanilla bean. Add rhubarb and toss to coat. Place in the oven for 30-45 minutes, until the stalks are tender, but still hold their shape. (It is better to have them too soft than too firm.) Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and press it tightly against the frozen tart crust. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake on the center rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil, press down any bubbles with the back of a spoon, and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the crust is golden brown (no pale crusts!). Remove to a wire rack and let the crust cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the strained yogurt, remaining vanilla bean seeds, and honey. Spread the yogurt mixture into the cooled tart crust. Arrange the rhubarb pieces down the center of the tart. Chill the tart for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator before serving. Use a serrated knife to saw the tart into slices to avoid the yogurt oozing out!
- *I prefer to slow roast the nuts because it deepens the flavor, but you can also toast them quickly at 350°F for 5-6 minutes.