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.
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
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
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.
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.