Greek yogurt (yiaourti) is thicker and creamier than the variety commonly found in U.S. markets. In Greece, yogurt is a much-used ingredient in many recipes and a favorite treat spooned from the bowl with honey or nuts. Traditionally made with sheeps milk, Greek yogurt is easy to prepare at home using cow's milk. The yogurt is always strained to remove excess moisture, producing a luscious, creamy texture.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, stirring occasionally, until it registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Transfer the milk to a large bowl with a pouring spout and let cool to lukewarm.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the milk into a small bowl and whisk in the yogurt starter. Whisk the starter mixture into the large bowl of milk, making sure to incorporate all of the starter.
- Pour the milk into yogurt jars, dividing evenly, and place in a yogurt maker.
- Process for 13 hours according to the manufacturers instructions.
- Line a fine-mesh sieve with coffee filters or 4 layers of cheesecloth and place over a bowl.
- Pour the yogurt into the sieve and cover with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate until the yogurt is thick, at least 8 hours.
- Transfer the drained yogurt to a clean bowl and stir until smooth.
- If the yogurt is too thick, like cream cheese, whisk a little of the strained liquid (the whey) back into the yogurt.
- To serve, divide the yogurt among 4 shallow bowls. Top with the pears and nuts and drizzle with the honey.