Friday, November 6, 2015

A Plethora of Pomegranates

When you have a garden, you often experience either feast or famine conditions. The year we first moved in I pruned the pomegranate tree away back. Admittedly, I didn't really know what I was doing but I'd been been told by a reliable source (Google!) what to do and how to do it. Maybe I pruned it a bit too much, because the following year it only produced 3 fruits. Albeit 3 massive fruits the size of my head!

In the years that followed, I've laid off the pruning and only cut back where the tree grows across the path. Every year, we get a tonne of enormous  pomegranates from a tree that never gets watered. That's not just drought tolerant - it's downright drought friendly!
Pomegranate and Butternut Squash harvest
So what can be done with all these beautiful fruits? Well a lot of them I give away to my friends. Pomegranates take a horrendously long time to process! The biggest ones can take me 20 minutes each to just peel and extract all the arils - the fleshy eats that you eat.

So at the weekend I set aside an hour and tried to get through as many pomegranates as I could. My Husband was convinced that there must be a more efficient way, so he spend a bit of time on YouTube researching de-seeding pomegranates. To begin with, I believed this time would have been better spent just helping me seed the damn things but, low and behold, when he tried to test out a few methods he came across, we discovered that he is super fast at seeding pomegranates. Not all of the methods proved useful, and even those that did, only for some of the time. If the fruit had grown in a perfectly symmetrical way, great - but most don't, so he was soon down in the trenches with me picking out arils one at a time with his fingers. He was still faster - processing 5 fruits for every 3 that I did - I rejoiced! No excuse for not asking him for help in this chore ever again.
So working together, we got a big bowl of seeds and put them through the juicer, careful not to spill any. Every seed is precious! (Is that from the Catechism or Monty Python?)

It took us over an hour to make enough for two glasses of pomegranate juice, from picking the fruit to drinking it.
It tastes so good even if it does looks like blood. Quite apt, since it was Halloween. In fact, the whole kitchen looked like a crime scene, juice on the floor, countertops and even splattered up the walls. CSI eat your heart out!

We were a mess too. Our fingers were stained purpley-grey and we laughed at the splotches of juice smeared across each others faces. No point is cleaning up until we'd finished the whole basket. A couple of hours later we had enough juice to freeze and even a little to experiment with.

I decided to try Pomegranate Scones.

This recipe is adapted from one I use from Delia Smith. (The same basic recipe is on the back of the packet of self raising flour too.) And yes, I can use grams or cups - I'm bilingual that way!

Ingredients

40g butter (I use Kerry Gold - Irish butter is the best)
225g self-raising flour
1½ level tablespoons caster sugar
110ml pomegranate juice, plus a little more (if needed)
Juice of one lemon (My addition - I think it helps with raising the dough)
One beaten egg
1/2 cup of dried cranberries (you can substitute with walnuts, raisin, chopped figs, choc-chips etc)
A little extra flour for rolling out
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7

Equipment: A baking sheet with a non-stick liner, and a 5cm plain (or fluted) cutter

Method

  • Rub the butter into the sieved flour using your fingertips
  • Stir in the sugar and dried cranberries followed by a pinch of salt. 
  • Pour the lemon juice into the pomegranate juice to mix it
  • Use a knife to mix in the pomegranate/lemon juice 
  • Knead the mixture with your hands to a soft dough (add more juice if it feels dry)
  • Roll out dough to a thickness of 3cm 
  • Without twisting the cutter, cut out the scones and put them on baking sheet
  • brush some beaten egg over the top 
  • Bake near top of oven for 12-15 minutes
I loved that the dough was pink!
 
When they’re done they will have risen and turned a golden brown, but there will still be pinkish purplish hues coming through - perfect for Halloween or even Valentines day - especially if you were to use a heart shaped cookie cutter.




Full disclosure - I'm not great at baking, but I am a top notch experimenter! And sometimes it works out - I should have a separate blog for all the ones that don't...

These scones were so delicious that I didn't even have to put butter and jam on them, but peach and lavender jam would have been wow with them - If I'd had any left from last year.

Leave a comment and let me know if you do try any of the recipes or have any other interesting  tweaks for them.

Byddi Lee

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