Tart and jewel like, pomegranate seeds are just what we need to brighten January, says our kitchen garden chef, Melanie Johnson.
The days are grey and the heating is cranked on high, the twinkling lights have all but been stuffed back into their boxes for another 11 months, and the reality that you actually have to start adhering to your New Year resolutions begins to sink in.
It is a month that boasts promises of fresh starts and ‘doing better’ — whatever that looks like – when in reality, for many just getting through the first week is cause enough for celebration.
Who cares if you indulged a little too much over the festive period, or slipped into the alcohol cabinet when you vowed you wouldn’t until the months end?
January takes no prisoners, so cut yourself some slack feast your eyes on this decadent chocolate pomegranate tart by Melanie Johnson – guaranteed to make any hint of the January blues disappear.
For the pastry
- 150g plain flour
- A pinch of salt
- 175g unsalted butter, soft, but still cold
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1tbspn cold water
For the filling
- 300ml double cream
- 100g caster sugar
- 250g dark chocolate
- 75g butter
- 5 eggs
- 1 pomegranate
Place the flour, sugar and salt in a wide bowl and then add the butter. Use your fingertips to rub in the butter fully. Add the egg yolks and water and bring it together to form a dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas 6 and have a 9in/23cm loose-bottomed tart tin ready with a baking-paper disc lining the base.
After half an hour, remove the dough from the oven before rolling it out to the thickness of a £1 coin to a 10in/25cm circle. Line the tart tin and then freeze for 15 minutes.
Scrunch up baking paper and then open it up (this is so it fills all the corners) and place in the tart case, together with some baking beans. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further eight minutes.
Heat the cream and sugar until almost boiling and then pour it over the broken pieces of chocolate and butter. Stir until everything has entirely melted together. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition, and then pour into the tart case.
Lower the oven temperature to 180˚C/350˚F/gas 4 and bake the tart for 25–30 minutes. The tart should still have a wobble to it when you take it out of the oven.
Cool the tart to room temperature and then scatter over the pomegranate seeds. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche.