I've mentioned before just how much I love pomegranates.
In fact, I am always surprised that they aren’t more widely used in baking considering their availability. The flavour of those gorgeous ruby red arils is no less wonderful than strawberries or blueberries.
Just to be clear, I am not a huge fan of eating pomegranates out of hand, mainly because I find the arils — for lack of a better word — seedy and therefore annoying to eat. However, once they have been transformed into juice, the possibilities are endless.
A lot of people are confused about how to juice pomegranates. The process, although somewhat time consuming, is fairly simple. The first step is to extract the arils. Now some people prefer to cut the fruit in half and then whack it in order to extract them, but I find that this method leads to juice wastage.
My way — discovered through copious internet research — is to cut a one-inch diameter crown on the top and bottom of the fruit and then to divide it into eight equal sections by running a small paring knife down the side to score the skin.
Once this is done, I use my hands to break open the pomegranate and start taking out the arils into a bowl, being careful to remove the pith as I go along.
Next, I put all the arils into a blender and pulse for about five seconds or so just to extract some of the juice. Then I use a large sieve and a large spoon to press on the arils to extract all the juice into a glass carafe.
Believe me, it is a lot easier than it sounds, but be sure to wear dark clothing as pomegranate juice has a tendency to go everywhere, and it stains too.
Now for the recipe, a simple chocolate pomegranate tart which is sure to impress all those who try it. This tart has three components: the chocolate pastry crust, the pomegranate jelly and the chocolate ganache.
You can prepare the tart crust the day before to make preparation easier.
Considered as one of the healthiest fruits, pomegranate is also called a divine fruit for its anti-oxidant, anti-viral and anti-tumour properties. Enjoy this easy-to-make but delicious chocolate pomegranate tart!
Chocolate pomegranate tart
Chocolate pastry crust
- Flour 340g
- Cocoa powder 30g
- Butter 200g (cold, cut into cubes)
- Icing sugar 140g
- Salt 2g
- Eggs 70g
Put the flour, cocoa powder, cold butter, icing sugar and salt into a food processor and process until the mixture resembles sand. Add the eggs and process just until the mixture forms clumps. Form dough with your hands and shape it into a disc. Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour. Grease a 10-inch tart pan with a removable base, and preheat your oven to 160 degrees C. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out to a thickness of three to five mm on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough over your rolling pin and unroll it over the tart pan. Set the dough in the pan and cut off any excess overhang with a sharp knife. Use the tines of a fork to make small holes on the base of the tart; chill the unbaked base for 15 minutes, and then bake for 30 minutes. Cool the tart base completely and then brush it with a layer of melted dark chocolate and refrigerate until the chocolate is set. This melted chocolate will act as a sealant and ensure that the tart base doesn’t become soggy when the jelly is poured on it.
- Pomegranate juice 300g
- Caster sugar 30g
- Gelatin leaves 2 (you can also substitute with two teaspoons of instant gelatin powder)
Bloom the gelatin leaves first — submerge the leaves in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate for 15 minutes (instant gelatin powder doesn’t require blooming). Heat the pomegranate juice and the caster sugar in a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add the gelatin leaves (squeezed of all excess water) or the instant gelatin powder and mix vigorously to ensure that the gelatin is completely dissolved. Cool the jelly slightly and then pour it on the tart base. Refrigerate for at least two hours or until the jelly is set.
- Dark chocolate 210g (cut into small pieces or you can use callets)
- Butter 14g
- Cream 200g
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan or simmering water and set aside. Put the butter and cream in a saucepan and heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and mix until combined. Cool the ganache for a few minutes and then pour over the pomegranate jelly. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the ganache. Chill for at least two hours before serving.
The writer holds a Diploma in Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu
Originally published in Dawn, EOS, October 27th, 2019