Pomegranate molasses with white chocolate parfait

Pomegranate Molasses

So, the thing is I love food. I love photographing food; I love cooking food; I love inventing recipes. So this blog post is mostly me being creative on a day off.

pomegrante has many health benefits

Pomegrate Molasses

Pomegranate Molasses is a bit of a misnomer – it’s made by boiling down and reducing pomegranate juice until it thickens and goes sticky. So its not really got anything to do with molasses per se except that molasses describes about how thick the juice should end up if you get it right. If you google recipes for “how to make pomegranate molasses” you find the recipes basically follow the same format – pure pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice, boiled for about an hour until it is reduced to about one third and starting to go sticky. I’ve put some additional notes below as there are a couple of pitfalls to avoid!

The inspiration for this recipe came from a recipe for white chocolate parfait I’d tried at Christmas and a reference to pomegranate molasses in a fab new book about meringues. Having made the white chocolate parfait recipe a couple of times I’ve concluded there are better ways of doing it so take your pick – my version at the foot of this post or the recipe above in the link.

Pomegranates are a weird fruit really – novel, a bit fiddly and not a common ingredient in UK cuisine. But the juice is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and there are said to be many health benefits from eating pomegranates.

How to make Pomegranate Molasses

You ideally need fresh pomegranate juice which I found in the local supermarket in the chill cabinets. Fresh juice is best because the ‘juice drink’ variety has sugar already added making it hard to know how much it needs to render down.

Pomegranate Molasses Recipe
Take 4 cups of fresh pomegranate juice and put in a stainless steel saute pan.
Add 2/3 cup of white caster sugar
and 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (two decent sized lemons well squeezed)

Bring it to the boil stirring gently to dissolve the sugar. When it reaches the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle bubble and stir gently every now and then to help it along.

After about an hour, when it is reduced to about one third of its original volume you’ll notice the liquid starts to coat the spoon. Be aware, when the liquid cools it will be thicker – a lot thicker and the first time I made this I basically ended up with pomegranate toffee when it had cooled! *Oops!*

Tip: When the liquid in the pan is starting to froth you are definitely there so take it off the heat and let it cool. You now have your basic Pomegranate Molasses. At this point, you can use it for any number of recipes – apparently it’s a popular ingredient in Lebanese cooking. When you taste it you’ll think of lots of possible uses – from cocktails to salad dressing, marinades.. the possibilities are endless!

Pomegranate juice has a curious combination of sweet and sharp so for my desert I added a splash of Creme de Cassis (which is a blackcurrant liqueur) to add richness to the flavour and additional sweetness. You should end up with a syrupy liquid the consistency of .. well..er.. molasses.

The white chocolate parfait is a cinch to make. The recipe above suggests putting white chocolate pieces in the blender and chopping until its fine. The noise of this scared me and it leaves little mini-chunks in the finished dessert so I prefer now to melt the chocolate instead.

White Chocolate Parfait:

120g white chocolate
50g Caster Sugar
3 egg yolks
300ml thick cream.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over boiling water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water though.
Put the sugar in a separate pan, add four tablespoons of water and bring to the boil. When it reaches boiling point reduce the heat a bit and boil gently for about four mins stirring regularly to create a sugar syrup.
While that’s working away, whip the cream in a bowl to soft peaks – don’t over beat it especially if you’re using an electric beater as it don’t take long to go from ‘soft’ to ‘thick and grainy’. Thick and grainy is not good: useable but less good than soft peaks.
In a large bowl, whisk the three egg yolks until they thicken a bit, add the sugar syrup and the melted chocolate. Now fold in to the cream and pour into freezer proof glasses. I bought some plastic ones (see picture above) and filled five with this mix. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top spare for the sauce bit later!

Put in the freezer and chill for at least three hours. Pull them out of the freezer about 20 mins before you need them (so when you are serving first course get them out – by the time you’ve finished they’ll be just softened slightly).

To serve, pour the Pomegranate molasses over the surface so you have a glossy red layer about 1/8 inch thick covering the parfait. Happy noms.

Further info about Pomegranate Molasses

Here’s the wikipeadia page Read the Wiki entry about health benefits of pomegranates, pomegranate recipes and pomegranate molasses

This blog post from Pen and Spoon has ten recipes for pomegranate molasses

More Pomegranate Recipe resources..

I’m a real fan of Jamie Oliver and he has some fab recipes to try featuring pomegranates – Click this link to go to Jamie Oliver Pomegranate recipes

For more recipes using pomegranates the POM website has a good selection too.

Food Photography:

View my portfolio of food photography by grrlAlex
Pomegranate molasses with white chocolate parfait

Iced Biscuits -Vintage style wedding

Iced Biscuits – Vintage style

Iced Biscuits -Vintage style wedding

Vintage inspired Iced Biscuits

Sunday 9th saw me doing some commercial photography. The shoot was organised up at the Vintage Tea room in Pontypool and featured the vintage china of Cherry Blossom Fancies – a Caerphilly based business offering vintage china for hire and the decorative cakes and iced biscuits of the Vintage Tea Room at Pontypool Museum.

Taking inspiration from the beautiful patterns and motifs of the vintage china, Mary Mahabir – the proprietor of the VIntage tea room has created a range of iced biscuits and miniature cakes and fancies.
Vintage themed iced biscuits: pink floral

Iced Biscuits: perfect for quirky wedding favours

For a vintage inspired wedding or other special occasion, having beautiful china is a must – but imagine how cool it would be to have iced biscuits and cakes that matched the decorative patterns of the china. I particularly liked the pattern on this Salisbury China tea set by Bradleys of England:

Bridal Tea: Vintage Tea Room Pontypool
These iced daffodil cakes were styled to compliment the pattern of a vintage tea set brought by Sue of Cherry Blossom Fancies. These cakes would of course be ideal for St Davids day celebration.
Daffodil cakes
Creating these iced biscuits really is a labour of love – each flower and detail is hand crafted and the attention to detail is most impressive
Blue floral pattern iced biscuit

A busy afternoon saw us shoot a selection of table settings and detail shots – it’s always great fun to work with other creative people. Here’s a brief image gallery from the day:

GrrlALex: Commercial Photography for local businesses based in South Wales

This shoot was commissioned by Vintage Tea Party Wales – a collaboration between Vintage Tea Room at Pontypool Museum and Cherry Blossom Fancies. Cherry Blossom Fancies can be contacted via facebook (see link above).

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Enjoying a traditional afternoon tea is a great way to spend a couple of hours. The vintage tea room in Pontypool Museum not only offers a vintage setting to sit and enjoy your tea but also the opportunity to take a stroll around the museum. Pontypool museum presents a collection of artefacts reflecting the history of the area. Pontypool is particularly rich in industrial heritage and Pontypool museum particularly prides itself on its collection of Japanware.

Bridal Tea: Vintage Tea Room Pontypool

Bridal Tea Party – treat the girls!

Ornately decorated cakes and biscuits: perfect for a bridal tea

Yesterday’s food photography shoot was for the Vintage Tea Room in Pontypool. Mary has been working on some really beautiful design ideas for bridal tea party biscuits, cakes and fancies.
Wedding favours & bridal tea party ideas

Sadly I didn’t get to eat them as they were needed as samples for a meeting the following day. Usually I get to enjoy the spoils from my food photography shoots.

The tea room in Pontypool offers afternoon tea which would be a lovely way to thank the bridesmaids for their support either before the big day or after the honeymoon, when life is starting to return to normal. A bridal tea party in a vintage tea room with ornate china and lots of cake is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Food photography is a particular passion of mine – mostly because I love cooking and being creative and I love the challenge of show-casing food at it’s best and making it as tempting as possible. If you are a local business looking for a commercial and product photography service in south Wales please click this link