Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Picking pomegranates with a pin

During the summer holidays when I was a child, pomegranates from Israel would appear in our local greengrocers. Until then, grapes were the most exotic fruit I had eaten and they, being expensive, were reserved for hospital visits. I would happily spend a week’s pocket money on one of these delicious red balls and assisted with a safety pin, would extract its glistening jewels of seeds to eat one by one.
I have an ongoing love affair with the pomegranate tree. I love its rich orange flowers, the colour of smoked salmon, its slightly scruffy habit and the fact that it never seems to know whether it is deciduous or not and the fact its seed sparkles like the most expensive jewels. I have a miniature pomegranate in a pot that produces fruit the size of a plum so must rely on friends for my supply.
Here, pomegranates ripen in late autumn/early winter arriving with the apples and mandarins. Six beautiful fruit came my way this week and I was determined not to waste them. The ‘boys’ are meeting for a barbeque tonight so I used this as an excuse to bake a cheesecake and make a pomegranate syrup topping. I made the base gluten free with ground pecans, Arnott’s Rice Biscuits and some added rice crumbs.
Here’s the recipe, it makes about a cupful:

Pomegranate Syrup

3 ripe pomegranates
Juice of one lemon
Honey or sugar

Roll two of the pomegranates on your bench till they are softened.
Cut in half around their ‘equator’ and juice with a citrus juicer.
Place the juice in a small saucepan with one tablespoon of water and the lemon juice.
Drop in a good slurp of honey (I used about 3 tablespoons) or the equivalent of sugar.
Do not use a strong flavoured honey (like I did!) as it will over power the flavour of the pomegranates.
Bring to the boil over a high heat and then simmer until thickened.
While this is happening, trim off the flower end of your last fruit. This is the spiky little cup opposite to the stem.
Cut the fruit into four segments. For perfect seeds, only cut through the skin layer and then peel it back.
With the segments in a bowl, gently rub the red seeds away from the yellow pith.
Make sure all pith is removed as it can be very bitter.
Drain in a sieve until needed.
When the syrup has reduced and become thicker, stir in the seeds, reserving a few for garnish.
Allow the syrup to cool before serving.

Use over cheese cake, ice cream or pancakes.
For more on these amazing fruits see:

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