Native to the Middle Eastern region, the pomegranate is a colorful bush fruit grown in California and similar climates. In recent years, the growing trends to stay healthy and embrace more “exotic” fruits and vegetables have seen an upswing in pomegranate-flavored snacks, juices and desserts.
A pomegranate is about the same size as an orange. In the beginning, the pomegranate is a yellowish fruit that turns a rich shade of red when it becomes mature. The husk is inedible, but the seed kernels situated in individual cells are. A sac filled with juice surrounds each seed, which is pressed out when the fruit is processed to make a fruity, sweet liquid.
If you are interested in incorporating the fruit into your diet, perhaps you will enjoy the following ideas for pomegranate desserts:
When properly served and garnished, parfaits make an elegant dessert for get-togethers and romantic nights in. Ingredients to make a pomegranate parfait may include 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin, 1 cup sugar, 3 eggs (separated), 3/4 cup water, 1 cup pomegranate juice, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 1 cup whipping cream.
In a heavy saucepan, mix the gelatin and sugar together. Set aside so that you can whisk together egg yolks and water that is stirred into the gelatin mixture. Cook the ingredients over medium-low heat, making sure not to boil. You should constantly stir until the gelatin and sugar dissolve, which should take about five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pomegranate and lemon juice. Place the pomegranate mixture into the refrigerator. You should occasionally stir the dessert until the mixture slightly mounds when dropped from a spoon. This process will take about 2 ½ hours.
When the pomegranate mixture is ready, beat egg whites until stiff (but not dry). Thoroughly fold the egg whites into the pomegranate mixture. Set aside. Beat the cream until soft peaks form, and then carefully fold into pomegranate mixture. Chill the dessert in parfait glasses for at least four hours. A garnish for this pomegranate dessert includes whipped cream, chopped pistachio nuts, and of course, pomegranate seeds.
To liven up a dessert, consider drizzling on pomegranate syrup – perfect for cheesecake.
A typical recipe calls for 1 cup of pomegranate juice and ½ cup sugar. Fresh pomegranate juice at home is as easy as adding 1 ½ to 2 cups of pomegranate seeds to a blender, which yields 1 cup of juice. Blend the seeds until liquefied. Pour the mixture through a sieve or fine strainer.
To make the syrup, combine the sugar and pomegranate juice in a 1 to 2 quart pan. Boil the ingredients over high heat – stirring until the sugar completely dissolves. Boil the mixture for one minute, remove from heat, and then allow to cool. Cover the syrup and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Other ideas for a pomegranate dessert include:
Pomegranate Mousse – made with powdered sugar, mascarpone cheese, egg whites, and crème fraiche as some of the ingredients.
Pomegranate Yogurt Dip – made with chilled plain yogurt, finely chopped scallions, pomegranate juice, fresh cilantro, and pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate Muffins – made with pomegranate seeds, milk, one egg, butter, baking powder, flour, sugar, salt, and grated lemon peel.