Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pretty in Pink (Well, More of a Lavender) for Valentine's Day with Pomegranate Curd, Pudding

Pomegranate Coconut Pudding
It's Valentine's Day this Thursday and while for many of us thoughts to turn to love, for some of us our brains get busy thinking up appropriately themed foods.

There is something kind of sexy and appealing about pomegranates, with their hands-on messiness and red juice.  And using the pomegranate's ingredients as the basis for this lush fruit curd and winning coconut milk based pudding make wonderful treats for a special day with your special one from breakfast through dessert.

To cut down on the mess and prep time, try using the widely available fresh juice and seed products in the grocery refrigerated sections.

Pomegranate Coconut Pudding is vegan and its deep pinkish lavender color looks lovely garnished with pomegranate seeds, chopped pistachios and a bit of coconut.  Be sure to use pure coconut milk.   Pomegranate Curd is decadent and versatile.  Use it as a cake filling, slather it on scones or English muffins or serve it by itself with gingersnaps or other cookies.  Mix the curd with an equal amount of whipped cream for an easy mousse (garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds) or make a parfait by layering whipped cream, crumbled cookies and curd in tall glasses.    

Pomegranate Coconut Pudding
Serves 4
1 14-16 oz. can coconut milk (do not use light)
4-6 oz. pomegranate juice
4 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. almond extract
Chopped pistachios, grated coconut and or pomegranate seeds (optional)
Remove lid from can of coconut milk.  Stir until well blended.  Pour into a large measuring cup.  Add pomegranate juice until total liquid is equal to 2 1/2 cups (20 oz.) Mix well.

Heat all but 1/4 cup of the liquid over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.  Heat to just warm and adjust heat to keep warm.  Mix the remaining 1/4 cup liquid in a medium saucepan with the cornstarch and sugar.  Heat over medium-low heat until warm, stirring frequently until the solids have dissolved.  Slowly pour the pomegranate and coconut milk mixture into the pot with the cornstarch and sugar, stirring continuously.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 15 minutes.  The pudding should be glossy, smooth, thick and with no raw cornstarch taste. Take off the heat and let cool a few minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice and almond extract.  Pour into individual serving cups.  Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled.  Garnish with chopped pistachios, grated coconut and or pomegranate seeds if desired.

Pomegranate Curd
Makes 2 cups
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces
1 cup sugar
6 Tbs.  pomegranate juice
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
4 eggs, beaten
1-2 drops natural red food coloring (optional)
In the top of a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl placed above a pot of simmering water, add butter, sugar, pomegranate and lemon juices and cardamom.  (Keep water at a simmer, do not let the water boil or touch the bottom of the double boiler or bowl.)  Stir occasionally. Once butter has melted and sugar is dissolved, mix well.  Add 1 Tbs. to the eggs, stirring constantly.  Repeat three times.  Slowly pour the eggs into the double boiler, stirring the juice and butter mixture constantly as you combine the two.  Keep stirring constantly.  Once the eggs are fully incorporated, add the optional food coloring.  Keep stirring until the curd is thickened, about 20 minutes.   Take off the stove and let cool.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. (The curd continues to thicken as it chills.)

Note:  If bits of cooked, “scrambled” eggs develop when adding the eggs to the hot ingredients, finish cooking and use the back of a spoon to push the finished curd through a strainer to remove them before chilling.

A version of this post first appeared in the j. weekly

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