Ingredients

POACHED PLUOTS
250g sugar
250ml water
125ml verjuice
6 pluots or apricots, halved, stones removed
VANILLA LABNEH
500g good-quality Greek yoghurt
50g raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
STAR ANISE CARAMEL
150ml water
150g sugar
4 large star anise
TO ASSEMBLE
1 loaf laminated brioche or 4 croissants
shiso, finely chopped

If you’re lucky your local bakery may sell loaves of laminated brioche, known as feuilletée or brioche puff pastry. A torn-up croissant is a good substitute. We like to use pluots and as they are only available at the Otago Farmers Market for a few short weeks in January we try to make the most of them. Apricots are a fine substitute, or use drained preserved stonefruit and omit the poaching step. This recipe changes seasonally and can be a template for whatever is available.

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Instructions

1.POACHED PLUOTS
2.Combine the sugar, water and verjuice to make a syrup and bring to the boil.
3.Place the halved pluots into the boiling syrup, cover with a circle of baking paper and immediately remove from the heat and allow to cool – the residual heat will be enough to poach the pluots.
4.If using preserved fruit, drain off any syrup and omit the poaching step.
5.VANILLA LABNEH
6.Line a sieve with some finely woven cheesecloth and stand it over a bowl.
7.Put the yoghurt into the sieve and leave it to drain overnight in the fridge.
8.The next day, place the hung yoghurt into a bowl and taste it; it will leave your mouth dry and give you a slight pucker.
9.Add the sugar and vanilla and a small amount of the whey that has drained from the yoghurt.
10.Whisk and taste again – you want the labneh to still be thick but not leave your mouth feeling dry.
11.STAR ANISE CARAMEL
12.Put the water, sugar and star anise in a saucepan, then place over a low heat and reduce the syrup by half. Set aside to cool.
13.TO ASSEMBLE
14.Heat the oven to 185°C fan bake.
15.Tear laminated brioche or croissants into 2½ cm-sized pieces and place in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden.
16.Gently reheat the pluots in some syrup either over a low heat or in the microwave.
17.Place the toasted brioche or croissants into a shallow bowl and pipe or spoon small amounts of labneh in the gaps between the brioche.
18.Place the warmed pluots on top and spoon over the star anise caramel.
19.Sprinkle over some shiso.

Recipes Alan Baxter / Photography Isabella Harex

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