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.
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