Orange/Pomegranate/Almond Dark Chocolate Tart

INGREDIENTS:
makes 1 large 9″ tart
(if making tartelettes, double the pastry crust recipe.)

for pastry crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour (~6 oz/260 grams)
  • 7 Tbspn butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-2 Tbspn freshly grated orange zest (I used one blood orange)
  • 1 Tbspn almond extract
  • 1-2 Tbspn water

METHOD:

  1. Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until a dough begins to form.
  2. Remove the pastry dough from the food processor, form it into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  4. Roll out the pastry crust.  Prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork.  Then, line the pastry with parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights (or dry beans, which is what I use).  If making tartelettes, just prick the bottom of the pastry without weighing them down.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the pastry looks golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool

for chocolate ganache filling:

  • 12 oz. bittersweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 10 oz. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 2 Tbspn Pama pomegranate liquor

METHOD:

  1. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream and butter.  Heat on medium high, stirring and scraping the bottom constantly until it reaches a gentle simmer.  Remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot cream onto the prepared chocolate.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and evenly distributed.  Stir in the pomegranate liquor.
  5. Pour into the prepared tart crust.  Let set until completely cool, about 1-2 hours.  If adding toppings, like fresh pomegranate seeds or almond slices, add these right when the ganache begins to set, about 10-15 minutes.  Serve at room temperature.

Pomegranate Basil Vodka Cheesecakes

INGREDIENTS:

makes about ~36 mini cheesecakes

For crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs/digestive biscuits
  • 1/4 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tspn ground nutmeg, cloves, or allspice
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

METHOD:

  1. Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Mixture will be crumbly, but when pressed between your fingers will stick together.
  2. Press the crumb into your cheesecake mold, using a flat bottom to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides a little.  (I found that about a Tbspn of crust was sufficient in these mini cheesecake molds, and I used the end of a small rolling pin to press the crumb down.)
  3. Put the pan in the freezer while making the cheesecake filling.

For the cheesecake filling
Have all filling ingredients at room temperature.

  • 1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 16oz. sour cream
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tspn vanilla
  • 2 tspn lemon juice

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy with mixer on low throughout.
  3. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until creamy.
  4. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add flour, vanilla, lemon juice, and mix.
  6. Add sour cream and beat well.
  7. Pour the filling into your spring form pan.
  8. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Do not remove from oven!  Turn the oven off, prop open the oven door ~ an inch or two, and leave for 1 hour.
  10. Remove from oven, let cool in the fridge for 24 hours to season.

Pomegranate Basil Vodka Reduction
makes enough for one squeeze bottle, but you really only need half a squeeze bottles for 36 mini cheesecakes.

  • 1 bottle fresh Pomegranate juice
  • 1 large pomegranate, seeded
  • a handful of large basil leaves
  • ~1/3 cup vodka
  • 1/4-1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4-1/3 cup cornstarch
  • empty teabags or cheesecloth with string

METHOD:

  1. Shred basil leaves and stuff into teabag or cheesecloth.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine juice, pomegranate seeds, prepared basil bag, vodka, sugar and cornstarch.  Whisk often to break up the cornstarch.
  3. Bring to a boil and boil for about a minute.  If the mixture is too runny still, simmer and reduce some of the liquid until desired consistency.
  4. Pour mixture into a squeeze bottle with a large opening in the nozzle (large enough for pomegranate seeds to pass through).  When mixture is cool, squeeze onto prepared cheesecakes.

 

 

Pomegranate Berry Smoothie

Pomegranate Berry Smoothie Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup water

PREPARATION

  1. Combine mixed berries, pomegranate juice, banana, cottage cheese and water in a blender; blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

NUTRITION

Per serving: 206 calories; 1 g fat ( 0 g sat , 0 g mono ); 3 mg cholesterol; 49 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 6 g protein; 6 g fiber; 133 mg sodium; 625 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (39% daily value), Potassium (18% dv)