Saturday, February 28, 2009

Musings on Pomegranate, and THAT time of the month


It is that time of the month again. Regardless of how seldom I blog, we meet each month here in my sanctuary, where I unveil to you the Daring Bakers' Challenge of the given month. This month, the challenge is a very unique chocolate cake recipe, the less because it is completely gluten-free, and more because it contains no additional sugar.

This cake has a texture somewhere between a cake, a brownie, and a custard. There is intense chocolate, as dark and inexorable as night. But scattered amidst this landscape are ruby red globes which burst into sweet, and then sour; the fruit of the Underworld that bound Persephone to Hades for three months out of each mortal year.


Picking apart a pomegranate is a messy yet rewarding exercise. Amidst ruby-stained fingers and lips, any person is bound to moan in ecstasy when the white membranes of the fruit finally yield an undiscovered cavern of yet another cluster of seeds. Add to that the pleasure of feeling the tiny, plump globules pop and flood your tongue with their sweet liquor, a sensation so eminently satisfying it is almost forbidden. Little wonder Persephone gave in to its temptation.

I wanted to pair this decadent cake with a sorbet made from another ancient fruit: figs. Why? Because I couldn't resist the sight of their plump little figures at the market. And oh, they happen to taste out of this world, and they were apparently introduced to humans as the fruit of autumn by the goddess Demeter, who is also none other than Persephone's mother. Because the deadline for this challenge is in less than 3 hours' time, I think I'll make this post a short one. As my few previous posts have been long ones, and since someone said something about a picture is worth a thousand words sometime ago, I'll let my photographs do the talking this time. I hope they do not disappoint.



The February Challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad- Baker & Chef. 'We have chosen a chocolate valentino cake by Chef Wan; a vanilla ice cream recipe from Dharm and a vanilla ice cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.'


Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped

½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter

5 large eggs separated


1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment. 3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls. 4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry). 5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together. 6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate. 7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration} 8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C 9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet. 10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.


Fig Sorbetto

12 ripe figs, trimmed
200g caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
200ml thick cream (35% fat)

Process the figs, sugar and lemon juice until combined. Add the thick cream and pulse until smooth. Churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.

BON APPETIT!

29 comments:

Leslie said...

BEAUTIFUL photos. I love the flavors you used!!!

Snooky doodle said...

wow what an interesting mixture of flavours. i m also curios about the fig sorbetto. i ll try it when figs are in season :)great phots :)

MeetaK said...

sensational read! loved the photos and the flavors you used. gorgeous!

Dee said...

Your photos are so stunning, it's easy to overlook the evocative writing. Always a joy to visit!

lisa (dandysugar) said...

Your cake is gorgeous, I love that you added pomegrante seeds. Great flavor combination with the fig sorbetto.

Aran said...

beautiful pomegranate ... such intense color. and fig sorbet... delicious!

Engineer Baker said...

Oh, I love pomegranates! And pairing them with figs and chocolate sounds heavenly. Beautiful job.

Carrian said...

Your photos are so beautiful! Loving the pomegranate!!

Sweet Bird said...

Your photos are absolutely lovely - I'm envious! I love the idea of pomegranate and chocolate together.

Ash said...

This looks stunning! great photos! I love the use of the pomegranates!

billy said...

oh my word! Thanks for dropping by on my site and now your blog is definitely a MUST READ for me! Those photos are stunning!! and your baking skills is indescribable! Bravo!

Mallory Elise said...

oh beautiful shots Christy! wooo way to kick ass! its too bad daring bakers don't have it as a competition...makes it more exciting...

i ......... won't..........be able to blog this weekend, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! turning into you? ahhahakahak :)

bisous!!!

Chanel11 said...

As everyone has already said, seriously gorgeous photos - also loved the addition of Greek mythology to tell a story.

Vera said...

Breathtakingly beautiful, Christy!
Your photos are amazing!

Arlette said...

amazing photos and I love the combination you used I must try that

Y said...

Sounds so heavenly! I'm wishing I still had a piece of that cake around right now, as I'm craving it all over again. Totally agree with your description of the cake.. especially the bit about it being custardy!

natalia said...

ciao ! I love your idea ;figs and pommegranate !! Great !

Sweet Tooth said...

Wow, those photos are really stunning! I like your way of putting the "we chose..." in quotation marks and in cursive, elegant way around the wording!

ice tea: sugar high said...

Interesting flavours. Very intriguing. Beautiful photos as always =)

ice tea: sugar high said...

I knoww.. I'm still can't decide whether I'm coming or not. I don't really know anyone. I really want to though. Are you coming? Duncan's macaroons are really tempting.

Stephanie said...

I absolutely love what you did with this challenge. Your pictures have made me love pomegranate more than I already did.

Suzie said...

The photos are beautiful - I can't wait to try this recipe. And I'll definitely follow your lead on the pomegranate.

Nico said...

Beatiful, I really like the combination, I already have it in mine "things to try".
thanks
nico

Irene said...

I love this! The pomagranate looks like rubies buried in the earth. So beautiful!

Dharm said...

How interesting to pair the cake with pomegranate! Thanks for joining us on the challenge this month!

Angela said...

What stunning photos! And you writing is just fantastic too---so strong and evocative.

Loved reading this entry :)

Mallory Elise said...

you're done? hooray! well i havnt started yet. i can make it tomorrow, then we can post saturday or sunday. either~ except i need your questions miss lazy!!!!

Farmers Wife said...

Excuse me for asking but I am wanting to use a blog header from the same website as yours. I can't figure out how to move my header text to the available space on the header. I am sure it is easy but I can't figure it out. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks my email is tangles-1@hotmail.com. Michelle

theforeignkitchen said...

Thank you for the beautiful inspiration! i see a pomegranate and my knees begin to quiver....everytime someone asks me what my favorite food is, without fail, i blurt out POMEGRANATES. that usually scares scares them away and i am left with no friends or any chance to tell them the many ways you can eat them.