Chef Tom and The Desserts of Yotan

I have posted recipes from my favorite chef here before. The man has some of the most innovative, inspiring, and crazy-delicious recipes ever. I love his refined rusticity. Here are three of his sweeter offerings. I made the Sweet Labneh and Rhubarb just today and it is killer.

Yotam Assaf Ottolenghi (born 14 December 1968) is an Israeli-English chef, restaurateur, and food writer. He is the co-owner of six delis and restaurants in London, as well as the author of several bestselling cookbooks, including:

Ottolenghi (2008), Plenty (2010), Jerusalem (2012) and SIMPLE (2018).

Roasted Rhubarb and Sweet Labneh

Roasted Rhubarb with Sweet Labneh

Serves 6

1 quart natural yoghurt

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pounds rhubarb

1/2 cup muscat (or other dessert wine)

1/3 cup bakers sugar

1 vanilla pod, scraped

2 lemons, zest 1, peel and strip 1

1/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped

Put the yoghurt in a bowl with the powdered sugar and a the salt. Mix well and transfer to the middle of a clean cheesecloth. Tie into a bundle with an elastic band or string, and hang over a bowl in the fridge for up to 18 hours.

Heat the oven to 350F. Cut the rhubarb into 2-inch batons and mix with the wine, sugar, vanilla pod and seeds, and lemon strips. Put in an ovenproof dish that’s just large enough snugly to accommodate the rhubarb and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Set aside.

Just before serving, give the yoghurt a good squeeze to release the last of the water. Remove from the cloth and place in a bowl. Stir in the grated zest and spoon into martini glasses.

Top with the rhubarb and some of its cooking juices and sprinkle over the nuts.

Chocolate Mousse

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Baileys and Mascarpone Cream

Serves 6

3 free-range eggs

3.5 oz. baker’s sugar

10.5 oz. dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

¼ pound unsalted butter

2 cups whipping cream

Cocoa powder, to finish (optional)

For the Baileys cream:

½ pound mascarpone cheese

1/3 cup Baileys

2/3 pound baker’s sugar

Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until light and airy – the longer you whisk, the better, so give it at least eight to 10 minutes. (You could do it by hand, but that would be a big effort.)

While the eggs are whisking, put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir with a wooden spoon until they melt completely.

With the mixer running on medium speed, add the chocolate mix to the egg mix in a steady stream – it is important to combine the two gradually but continuously, with the chocolate going into the eggs and not the other way around.

Whisk the cream until it firms up just a little – it needs to reach a loose ribbon stage (when you lift the whisk, the cream dribbling off should create clear lines in the surface before disappearing). Gently fold the semi-whipped cream into the egg and chocolate mix, and pour into a serving bowl. Chill for at least an hour to set.

Make the Baileys cream in advance, or just before serving. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk. The cheese will go loose and runny, but it should firm up again. Stop when it reaches a very soft peak consistency.

Serve the mousse directly from the bowl with a huge dollop of Baileys cream on top.

Dust with cocoa powder if you like.

Honey and Apricot Trifle

Honey and Apricot Trifle with Walnuts and Lavender

Serves 4


8 ripe/soft apricots, pitted and quartered

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/3 cup good quality honey, plus an extra 1 tsp for drizzling

1/2 pound sponge cake (shop-bought is fine), broken up into 2-inch chunks

1/4 cup amaretto liqueur

3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried lavender petals

1/4 pound ricotta

1/2 cup crème fraiche

1/8 pound mascarpone

1/8 cup baker’s sugar


Place the apricots in a small saucepan with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of honey. Place on a medium heat and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the apricots have broken down to a runny compote. You might need to add a little bit more water if the apricots start sticking to the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Place the cake in a bowl, pour over the liqueur and use your hands to gently toss the cake so that all the liquid is absorbed.

Put the walnuts in a bowl with the remaining half a tablespoon of honey and half of the lavender petals. Stir and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, crème fraiche, mascarpone and icing sugar. Once well combined, set aside.

Place some of the sponge at the bottom of 4 individual glass bowls. Spoon some cream on top, followed by some of the compote and then the nuts.  Repeat this layering process once more for each portion, drizzle over the remaining honey and sprinkle with the remaining lavender petals.

On That Note

My musical obsession du jour. Dimash Kudaibergen from Kazakhstan.

I’ve posted this guy before, as well, but this song gets me every time. Boy has a 6 octave range and perfect pitch. Add that with an impressive emotional connection with the music? What’s not to love. And he’s only 26.

This vid is 3 years old and it’s a Chinese competition called I Am a Singer.

Dimash Kudaibergen – SOS d’un terrien en détresse


Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

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