Sunday, March 22, 2009

Some Kinda Wonderful

When Diana Salier contacted me to ask if I’d like to try some POM Wonderful pomegranate juice and blog about the results, it was easy to say ‘Yes’.

In general I avoid commercialization on my blog, mostly because I like to be free to do what I want to do. The reason it was easy to say ‘Yes’ was because I’ve already used the product and found it to be a delicious juice, 100% pomegranate juice according to the label.

Having some samples to play with encouraged me to think a bit outside of the box. It has many health benefits, but the recipe that came to mind first was not a bit healthy.

In her fabulous book Baking, from My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan has a recipe for a lemon cream that sounds dreamy. She makes an orange and a lime variation. I wondered if I could make a pomegranate and lemon version and how that would work.

Since I rarely make tarts, the first hurdle was making the tart dough and baking it as a crust in a tart pan. I know there are some for whom this is as easy as falling out of bed.

For me it was somewhat nerve wracking. I wasn’t sure that I processed the dough mixture enough (or too much) in the food processor and then I didn’t have a 9 inch tart pan, so I used a smaller one and a very small one, but was unsure if the volume was correct for that much dough.

When I was baking the frozen crusts, I thought the filling would cook faster, so when they needed to come out of the oven and have the foil removed, I was madly stirring filling with a whisk. Fortunately Sweetie was happy to take the crusts from the oven and then I used one had to stir and the other to remove foil!

As it turned out, the crusts are fine. Next time I might use a little less dough in the pans for a thinner crust, but these are OK. Next time I would increase the gelatin because the filling was a bit too goopey, even after chilling. The filling also seemed to be a dull color, so I added some food color. Not sure if that was a good thing, either, but I do like the combination of the spiced pears poached in more POM Wonderful pomegranate juice with the sweet tart creamy, buttery filling. You can taste the delicious flavor of pomegranate juice and the zing tartness of lemon juice.

Pomegranate Lemon Tart with or without Spiced Poached Pears
a variation of Creamy Orange Tart in Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Tart Crust
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup confectioners sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold or frozen butter
cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, confectioners sugar, and salt into the work bowl of a food processor with the steel blade. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in. Stir the yolk briefly, then add to the ingredients in the food processor a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. Once the egg is processed, pulse the mixture with longer pluses, about 10 seconds each, until the mixture forms clumps. Turn the clumped dough out onto a work surface and very lightly knead the dough to incorporate any dry ingredients missed by the pulsing.

Butter a 9 inch tart pan. Add the dough and press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides. Save one little piece for patching once baked. Work gently to keep the crumbly texture.

Freeze the crust a minimum of 30 minutes or longer. While crust is freezing, you can make the filling.

Pomegranate Lemon Filling
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
4 large eggs
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice
2 sticks plus five tablespoons (10 ½ oz) butter at room temperature, cut into tablespoon size pieces
1 tablespoon cold water
1 ¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin

Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

In a large heatproof bowl, rub together the sugar and the lemon zest. Whisk in the eggs, then whisk in the lemon juice and pomegranate juice.

Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water and stir with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Continue whisking until the mixture reaches 180 degrees F (an instant read thermometer is best way to check). Whisk constantly. The mixture will start out foamy and eventually, just before reaching 180 degrees F, will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks.

As soon as the mixture reaches 180 degrees F., remove from the heat and pour mixture through a strainer into a blender (best) or food processor. Discard the zest that collects in the strainer.

Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Turn the blender on high or start the processor. Add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides as needed. Once the butter is incorporated, keep the machine going for about another 3 minutes.

While the machine is processing for the last 3 minutes, mix the cold water and gelatin in a small heatproof cup. Microwave for 15 seconds to dissolve the gelatin. Set aside.

Pour the mixed creamy mixture from the blender or food processor into a bowl. Whisk in the gelatin. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the pomegranate lemon filling.

Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

While the filling is chilling, bake the crust, as long as it has chilled for at least 30 minutes in the freezer. (This would work far better than the way I did it, trying to bake the crust and cook the filling at the same time!).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Center a rack in the oven.

Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Return to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes or so or until it is firm and golden brown. If there are any cracks in the baked crust, use the save piece of dough to patch them, then bake another two minutes.

Let the crust cool completely before filling.

Take the chilled filling from the fridge and whisk vigorously to loosen.

Spoon the filling into the cooled crust and spread evenly. Serve now or refrigerate until serving time. Serve within four hours for best crust results.

Optional addition - pear topping :

While cream is chilling, poach a pear or two that has been peeled, cored and sliced

in the following poaching liquid:

1 cup POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

Poach the pear slices for 5 – 10 minutes until pink and softened. Remove from poaching liquid with slotted spoon or skimmer and let cool completely.

Place a layer of pear slices on the crust and cover with the pomegranate lemon filling or spread on the filling, then arrange pear slices attractively.

If pears are on top of tart, you can glaze them with:

1/3 cup apple or quince jelly mixed with ½ teaspoon water

Bring to a boil, then use a pastry brush to glaze the pear slices and pomegranate lemon filling.
Chill to set the jelly before serving.


  1. Oh, yummmmmmmm.
    I miss Pom juice!

    And may I compliment you on the varicolored whisk? Too cute!

  2. I love Pom too! :)

  3. I'm with Tanita - Love the tart, glad I can get POM juice here in Australia, but what I'm most coveting is that adorable whisk!

  4. Oh I wish I had some of that right now. I would love to try that tart.

  5. Another great use of POM. Far more creative than what I did with it.

  6. Oh wow, what you did was more of a whipped, creamy curd, but the same idea! Yours turned out such a beautiful shade of light pink! GMTA, huh? :) Beautiful job, and I love your other preparations using the POM juice, especially the beautiful red cabbage!