It's good to see that locally grown pomegranates are becoming more readily available but they still aren't quite up to the quality of the specimens you'd find in their native lands. The main issue with the local fruit seems to be a lack of juice so for recipes where pomegranate juice is required you might be better off finding pure pomegranate juice.
This might explain why restaurant dishes using pomegranate seem to consist of pomegranate molasses or sprinkling a few pomegranate seed -for WHB I thought I'd take a different approach.
For such a middle eastern ingredient I've taken a very western approach to create these Caramelised Pomegranate Cakes. The juice is used in the cake while the seeds are tossed through a simple caramel mix - the sour notes of the pomegranate provide an interesting contrast to the sweetness of this dessert.
Caramelised Pomegranate Cakes[Makes 4]
100 grams butter
50 grams brown sugar
125 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
80 grams golden caster sugar
100 grams melted butter, cooled
1 egg, lightly whisked
50mls pomegranate juice
Prepare the pomegranate:
When you choose pomegranate pick those that feel heavy for their size - this is a good indication that they will have more juice.
Take the pomegranate and roll it over your bench, you'll near a lot of crunching and cracking, that's fine. This helps to separate the seeds from the white membrane and releases the juice.
Cut the pomegranate in half - do this over a bowl so you can catch all that precious liquid.
Hold the pomegranate, cut side down, and squeeze - this will release both juice and seeds. You could also rap it with a wooden spoon.
Once you've done both halves, strain the mix, reserving the juice for the cake. Go through the seeds and remove any white membrane that may have dislodged and discard.
Make the caramel:
Place the butter and sugar into a small saucepan and place over a medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and then rapidly simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Remove from the heat and set to one side while you make the cake:
Make the cake:
Sift the flour, baking powder and caster sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add in the egg, cooled melted butter and pomegranate juice and stir until combined.
Assemble the dish:
Butter 4 individual soufflé dishes.
Add the pomegranate seeds to the caramel, stir well and then pour into the soufflé dishes. Top with the cake batter.
Place the dishes onto a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated 170°C oven until golden and cooked through (about 20 to 30 minutes) - it's important to place this on a tray just in case the caramel bubbles over.
Let them sit a few minutes before turning out and serving.