Milk pudding with labne, apricot and Turkish fairy floss

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 8 people

  • 4 grains mastic (see note)
  • 120 gm caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornflour
  • 1 litre full-cream milk
  • Long strip rind from ½ lemon and ½ orange
  • 30 ml orange-blossom water
  • 200 gm strained yoghurt (see note)
  • To garnish: orange-flavoured Turkish or Persian fairy floss (see note)
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  • Apricot purée
  • 300 gm amardine sheets (see note)
  • 150 ml water
  • 70 gm caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
01   Grind the mastic with ½ tsp of the sugar in a mortar, then mix with the remaining sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Stir in 100ml of the milk to make a paste.
02   Put the rest of the milk into a large, heavy-based saucepan, then whisk in the paste until smooth. Add the citrus peels and bring to the boil, whisking continuously, then lower the heat. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, whisking continuously to make sure it doesn’t catch and burn.
03   Remove from the heat, then strain into a bowl and cool in a sink of iced water,whisking continuously so that the mixture becomes light and fluffy. When the mixture cools to blood temperature, stir in the orange-blossom water, then fold in the strained yoghurt. Spoon into serving glasses and refrigerate until chilled.
04   To make the apricot purée, put the amardine, water and sugar into a heavy-based saucepan and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the amardine softens and dissolves to a thickish, smooth consistency. Tip into a blender and whiz to a smooth purée. For an even smoother consistency, pass the purée through a fine sieve, if you like. Stir in the lemon juice.
05   Spoon a little of the purée onto the milk puddings and keep chilled until ready to eat. Serve garnished with a top-knot of fairy floss.
Note Mastic is the resinous gum from an acacia tree, sold as small crystals. Amardine sheets are made of dried apricot paste. Both ingredients, as well as Persian fairy floss, are available from Middle Eastern food stores. For strained yoghurt, spoon 1kg thick natural yoghurt into a clean muslin square or tea towel. Tie the corners together and suspend from a wooden spoon over a deep bowl. Refrigerate overnight to drain.
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