613 Red Jewels

The pomegranate originated in Persia and has been cultivated in Georgia, Armenia and the Mediterranean region for several millennia.

Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness, because it is said to have 613 seeds which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah. For this reason and others, many Jews eat pomegranates on Rosh Hashanah. However, the actual number of seeds varies with individual fruits. It is also a symbol of fertility.  Some Jewish scholars believe that it was the pomegranate, not the apple, that was the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden.Pomegranate is one of the Seven Species (שבעת המינים, Shiv’at Ha-Minim), that are mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:8 as being native to the Land of Israel.

In Christianity, pomegranates are found in many religious paintings. The fruit, broken or bursting open, is a symbol of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection.

According to the Qur’an, pomegranates grow in the gardens of paradise. According to Islamic tradition, every seed of a pomegranate must be eaten, because one can’t be sure which seed came from paradise.

I adore pomegranates and hope to have my own pomegranate tree one day. I love to eat the seeds, drink pomegranate juice and cook with pomegranate molasses. It can be used in savory and sweet dishes; it is so versatile. It is a staple in my kitchen.

I have been wanting to make pomegranate curd for some time, but never found the right time to make it. So, I made tartlets for Shabbat dessert. It a lovely creamy curd and you can definitely taste the tartness of the pomegranate. I will probably cut the sugar to 1/3 of a cup next time.

The curd is such a lovely ruby color.

Pomegranate Curd Tart
For the curd:

3/4 cup caster sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

200 ml (1 cup) pomegranate nectar

5 egg yolks, beaten well

100 g (1 stick or 1/2 cup) butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

For the crust:

1/3 cup sugar

113g (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp milk

For the curd:

In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and pomegranate juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick like sour cream.

Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Whisk the butter into the mixture until it has melted. The pomegranate curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately with plastic wrap by placing the wrap directly on the curd and refrigerate until cool.

Tart Crust

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 200C (400F).

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light. Beat in flour, salt, and milk, until mixture is moist and crumbly (it should clump together if you press it between your fingers). Put dough into a 22cm (9 or 10-inch tart pan) and press it up the sides, making sure the layer on the bottom is even.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust is set and firm at the edges. Cool.

Fill the cooled tart shell with pomegranate curd and bake in a 180C (350F) oven for 15 minutes. Cool in the refrigerator for a 1-2 hours. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on the tart just before serving.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/10/11/613-red-jewels/

Yom Kippur 5769

I am still trying to finalize my menu for the pre-fast meal on Wednesday afternoon. I don’t want to over do it.

For erev Yom Kippur:

  • Roasted chicken quarters with Hashu filling (Syrian ground beef, rice and pine nuts)
  • Steamed green beans
  • Fruit salad

For break-the-fast:

  • Crackers
  • Cheese
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Baba Ganoush

About 1 hour later, we will have:

Mr. Baroness Tapuzina and I hope that you have an easy fast. Gmar Chatimah Tova (May you be sealed in the book of life).

Orange You Glad It is Almost Spring?

I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. We have been unpacking like crazy, but we still have a little more to do. However, I did find time to take some pictures around my new village and make a cake for a friend’s birthday party on Saturday night.

Spring is rearing its beautiful bounty here in Israel. Here are a few pictures near my new home:

I really love my new house. It is so nice to have a garden. I can’t wait to take advantage of it. The citrus trees are in full bloom, so when a friend of mine asked me to bring something for her birthday party on Saturday night, I decided to make something citrusy. She said she wanted something with orange in it, so I made an orange curd cake. This is a variation of a Serena Bass recipe I have for her lemon curd cake. I added less sugar and I also added a little lemon juice to offset the sweetness of the oranges. It is an easy cake recipe and the curd can be prepared several days in advance. This is a very moist cake that will be a big hit at any meal or afternoon tea.

Orange Curd Cake

Serving Size: 10 to 12

For the orange curd:

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of kosher salt

Zest of 3 oranges, finely grated

1/2 cup orange juice

Juice of 1 lemon

4 extra-large egg yolks

2 extra-large whole eggs

100g (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

170g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1-1 /2 cups sugar

3 extra-large eggs

3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest

Orange Curd

For the orange curd:

In a medium-size nonstick or nonreactive saucepan, add the sugar, salt, and orange zest and juice, and whisk until smooth. Then add the egg yolks and whole eggs and quickly whisk well. Set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring pretty much constantly until the mixture starts to bubble around the edges (about 8 minutes). Then add the butter in little lumps, stirring after each addition, and simmer gently. (No boiling, as the molten mixture can cause quite a burn if it splats onto your hand.) Stir for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens well. Transfer it to a small shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface while the mixture is still hot; set aside to cool. Once it's cool, you can use it immediately or transfer it to a plastic container, cover the surface as before, and store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

For the cake:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 22cm (9-inch) springform pan with vegetable oil.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Using an electric mixer with the balloon whisk attachment, beat the butter until creamy and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. While the sugar is fluffing up, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk to blend. Gradually pour the eggs into the mixture and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and base of the bowl a couple times to make sure everything is well incorporated.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, stir in the orange zest, add the dry ingredients, and fold in gently until just a little flour is still visible.

Spread half the cake batter on the bottom of the pan. Cover with half of the orange curd, keeping just shy of the perimeter. Spoon on the remaining batter somewhat randomly, then drop 3 large spoonfuls of the orange curd on top of the batter. Take a butter knife or blunt knife and make a figure eight motion in the batter to create a marbling effect.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean and the lemon curd on top has turned a rich golden brown. If the curd is browning too much, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan.

Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Then run a small sharp knife around the circumference. Release and remove the sides of the springform. Run a large, sharp unserrated knife under the cake to loosen it. Then use the knife blade to help slide it onto a cake plate. You can either dust with confectioners' sugar or leave the cake plain so the orange curd shows.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/03/08/orange-you-glad-it-is-almost-spring/

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