It’s POMEGRANATE month, oh yes it is.
And, I’m all about this pretty ass red fruit. So I’m going to talk my and your head off about it. Because, after what I experienced last month with this ruby jewel, I’m going to meet Lynda Resnick and make her my mentor. Watch.
Mrs. Resnick is the founder and owner of POM Wonderful. They are the company that puts out the largest numbers of poms, worldwide, and the producers of Pom Wonderful juice–you know the double bubble bottle packed with nothing but anti-oxidants?
Let’s call her a “SHEgenius.”
This post isn’t about POM Wonderful or Lynda (she’s already my guirl) as much as it’s about the sexalicious flan I made with a very special pomegranate.
Last month, I spent 3 incredibly exhilarating and delicious days in Fresno, Cali, visiting with Mrs. Resnick’s company. I won’t tell you anything about that trip until next week during a 3 part series of the trip and pomegranates in general, other than myself and 14 other lucky food and health bloggers were right smack in the middle of orchards spanning 18 acres of pomegranate bushes. They’re in full harvest right now so you can imagine what the fields looked liked: RED, VERY RED.
And so in BH form, I snatched as many rubies as I could from the bushes, put them in my backpack and hauled ass back to Atlanta. One of them was the size of cantaloupe, I swear. Security at the Fresno airport looked at me, wondering if they were going to charge me for the extra 15 lbs. of fruit I carried in my THIRD carry on.
I get home with 15 freshly hand-picked poms and just stared at them. They were pretty, luscious, and ready to be eaten. But what the hell was I going to do with 15 pomegranates? I eat out quite a bit, don’t have too much time cook since I’m always traveling, and even if I did cook more at home, I never eat the same thing for 10 days straight. Well, unless it’s cuban espresso.
Fortunately, I was only home in Atlanta 3 days before I went home to DC to celebrate my b-day and take a 2 week vacation with mi familia. I packed those rubies up and took them with me. Airport security in ATL stopped me, but I promised him (in Spanglish) I’d chuck one at him if he dared take them from me.
My mom loves POM juice and keeps bottles at home which I could have used to make the flan, but I’d consider that cheating. Especially since I had the fresh fruit. This is how it went down:
I cut the pom, picked out the arils by hand, stained my mom’s white counter tops, dropped arils on the floor which the dogs ate–pretty much made a mess. I drained the arils and then placed them in the blender in order to fully liquify. I suppose I could have individually squeezed each seed, but that would have required the patience of my dog, which I don’t have.
Let me get to crux of this post. Mami got excited, some our Cuban friends got excited and my aunt got excited as I boasted about the trip. I showed them how easy it is to cut one open and eat the seeds, or arils right from the inside. NOTE: the juice is potent and will stain anything it comes in contact with. The fruit is really juicy and will squirt you. Wear protective gear. Goggles, gloves, an apron might work, too. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but the juice from the seeds is really red and will spill onto everything. Wipe immediately.
Of the 12 poms I took to DC, 5 were eaten straight. I gave 2 away and two were used to make flan! I’d never made a pomegranate flan, so the process was a 1st for me and I had no idea what it going to look like, let alone taste!
The arils have a smaller seed inside so that created a small problem. The juice wasn’t as thin as I needed it to be. That just meant straining it as I poured it into the custard batter.
Don’t these arils look amazing! And they’re from the pomegranate you see above on the white swing, which came straight from the orchards!
I had to add an extra egg to the mixture so that the flan wouldn’t be so pudding like, since I was adding 3/4 to 1 cup of fresh pom juice and a splash of Grand Marnier! So perfect right! I think Grand Marnier needs to go into everything! And I”m NOT a lush. I’m just sayin’.
For added ruby flavor, I added a bit of the fresh juice to the sugar I use to make the caramel that coats the flan. It took a bit longer to caramelize in the flan mold, but it worked seamlessly. All this meant is that the resulting caramel sauce had extra punch!
The flan my friends, was amazing! Isn’t she a beauty! Perfect consistency and surprisingly, not red in color! Absolutely fabulous and perfect for celebrating POMEGRANATE month! This was probably one of the more time consuming and labor intensive flans I’ve ever made, but it was well worth the stains and kitchen sink mess. Even the flan purists that order from my mom, loved it. They appreciated a new and different taste and have ordered some for Thanksgiving!
The “icing on the cake” was delicately placing fresh arils on top of each slice with the caramel just dripping everywhere!
TAKE A DAMN BITE!
I think even Mr. Robuchon would have thought this was genius! You can read about how he really does love my flan by clicking here.
update @ 5:25 pm: PS: I’m entering this recipe to Bon Appétit Blogger Holiday Bake Off Contest. I would appreciate if you would vote for me! You can go here NOW later today or tomorrow and vote. My submission is in the “custard” category (I think 3rd page)! Help me win! I’ll entice you! If you vote for me and tell me you voted, I’ll send you a fresh pomegranate straight from the company! Stamped with the heart sticker and all! 🙂
Much love and sexy caramel.
- 4 eggs, whisked
- 1 cup fresh pomegranate juice from arils (you can use the bottled juice if you don’t want to get so labor intensive), parted.
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 6 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1/4 cup fresh arils for garnish
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- splash of Grand Marnier (more like 2 Tbsp.)
For pom juice:
Cut pomegranate and remove all arils. Use the more red ones. Don’t rinse. Place 1-1/2 cups of arils in blender and liquify for 2 minutes.
In a bowl, combine eggs, sweetened condensed & 2% milk & extract and whisk for about 2 minutes. Pour 3/4 cup pom juice from arils into custard mixture using a medium mesh hand strainer. Set aside.
Add sugar and strain 1/4 cup of pom juice to the flan mold and bring to medium-high heat. Allow all of sugar to melt down until golden caramel, stirring constantly. Do not allow the color of the sugar to become too dark or burn. When sugar is fully liquified, carefully coat the bottom and entire sides of the flan mold using hand towels to hold the pan (I suggest using a brush if you are not experienced in handling extremely hot caramel). Let sit for 2 minutes until sugar sets.Pour mixture into pan using using a medium mesh hand strainer. Close pan tightly.
I make my flans in a pressure cooker because it saves 75% time. If you want that method, email me. If you’re making it the traditional way, follow these instructions: If you have a traditional 10″ flan pan that does not have a lid, cover entirely with aluminum foil. If using a more updated version, cover lid and shut tight with latches. Add 2 cups of water to large saucepan and gently place flan mold into Maria bath. Cook on medium-high for 45-60 minutes or until fully cooked, without the custard becoming too firm. When just at the point of less than too firm, bring heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove flan pan from Maria bath and discard excess water from saucepan.
Do not remove flan from pan. Refrigerate for 7-9 hours or overnight. To unmold, use a butter knife and loosen the sides of the flan all the way around. Take a large plate, place upside down on top of flan and flip! Serve on large plate. Slice individually and sprinkle arils on each. Be careful not to waste any of the caramel sauce.
Serves 8-10. Enjoy thoroughly!