What a treat to find a cache of imported pomegranates in our local supermarket the other day. They’re something I’ve only ever seen online, given our New Zealand climate is not conducive to growing them.
Of course, it goes without saying that I bought some immediately without any idea of what to do with them; even how to open or eat them! I’m such a babe in the woods!
So, with pomegranates sliced open to reveal glistening ruby jewels, hands stained red with juice and seeds stuck between my teeth, I set about looking for recipes and found this Pomegranate Mousse recipe from Metro.ca. I have to say that I didn’t find the directions particularly clear first time around and the result was a bit of a flop. So I rejigged the recipe somewhat and added some clearer instructions. I also left out the suggested addition of mint leaves (call me a coward) and while the picture accompanying the recipe bordered on fluorescent pink (my assumption is that half a bottle of red food colouring was used), I decided to leave the colour of my mousse au naturale. I’m happy to report that, second time around, we had lift-off.
This, to me, is a perfect after-dinner dessert – a light, aerrated cloud of pink lusciousness with a subtle hint of pomegranate sweetness. And, it’s all the more special for the fact that our access to this glorious fruit is so limited.
- 7g (1/4 oz) plain powdered gelatin and 2 Tbsp cold water
- 1.5 cups pomegranate arils (the seeds) with any extra juice*
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup (250ml) whipping cream
- A handful of arils (or strawberries) to garnish
- Place gelatin in a small dish with cold water and allow to bloom for 5-10 minutes. Place the dish of bloomed gelatin in a water bath of hot water and stir until dissolved (check by running some mixture between your fingers). Alternatively you can place the bloomed gelatin in the microwave and heat for about 10-15 seconds on high, then stir to dissolve fully. Ensure you don’t let it boil.
- In a small saucepan, mix the arils (plus any juice) sugar and water as well as the lemon zest. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes – gently mash the arils with a potato masher while they’re simmering to release the juice. When the liquid has reduced by about half and starts to become syrupy, strain it into a bowl. Add the dissolved gelatin and stir well to combine. Put aside to cool.
- Beat the egg whites with the second measure of sugar until stiff. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat or whisk the whipping cream until it has soft peaks. Add the pomegranate syrup and whisk until incorporated and the mixture is stiff (but don’t overdo the whisking or you’ll curdle the cream). If you wish your mousse to be more pink than it is, add in a few drops of red food colouring at this point.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the cream/syrup mixture.
- Dollop the mousse into dessert dishes and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
- Garnish each mousse with some pomegranate arils or strawberries.
*To extract the arils from the pomegranate, slice the fruit in half through the middle (as you would an orange). Then, taking one half and holding it cut-side down over a high sided bowl, take a heavy metal spoon (or similar) and whack the side of the fruit a few times to release the arils. Work your way around the fruit until most of the arils have been released. For any stubborn pockets of arils, simply take the fruit and turn it inside out, fishing out the remaining arils.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting