(Ph)ood


Chocolate Pomegranate Torte
December 26, 2010, 4:43 pm
Filed under: Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts | Tags: , , , , ,

Did you know that according to Greek mythology the seasons of the year are partly attributed to the goddess of the underworld, Persephone, and eating pomegranate seeds?  According to mythology, Hades kidnapped Persephone and forced her to live in the underworld and be his wife.  Persephone’s mother, Demeter (goddess of the harvest), went into mourning and caused all vegetation to stop growing.  Zeus, not wanting the earth to die, ordered Persephone’s return.  However, it was law that if anyone consumed food or drink in the underworld they were doomed to spend eternity there.  Because Persephone had no food, Hades tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds and thus she was condemned to spending six months in the underworld every year.  During these six months, Demeter mourns and does not give fertility to the earth.  Thus, the reason why we have the fall and winter seasons.

In Philadelphia, Demeter must have really wanted us to suffer for Persephone’s mistake.  During the winter months, daylight is precious and the days are full of frigid temperatures and brutal winds sweeping between the tall buildings.  Depending upon who you ask, we are either blessed or cursed with plenty of snow as well.  Luckily, with the cold weather comes plenty of great things – holiday parties, hot chocolate, eating at one of the many fantastic Philly restaurants, running on the near-deserted Scuylkill River trail with my dog, skiing, movies, reading, and eating a variety of sweets. Combining the latter with a fruit that is in season this time of year, the pomegranate, can make some incredible desserts.  One such dessert, a chocolate pomegranate torte, is the focus of the post.

Chocolate Pomegranate Torte (From Fine Cooking)

This torte takes quite a bit of time to make and thus I suggest spreading its preparation out over a couple of days.  On the first day, I made the cake and jelly and then spread the jelly over the cake to allow the jelly to set.  According to the website where this recipe originates, it says this is the thing to do anyways as the cake has the best texture and flavor when allowed to set for a day or two.  After making this torte four times over the past few years I have one improvement to the recipe, double the jelly. When the torte is made exactly as directed, it is difficult to pick up the flavors of the pomegranate jelly over the chocolate cake and glaze.  I found the jelly much more prominent and flavorful when it’s recipe is doubled (as it should be), and overall, the torte much more extravagant.

After allowing the cake to set for a day or so, it’s time to glaze the cake and pomegranate gel.  The most important aspect of this step is to not try to make it perfect.  The more you touch it the rougher the glaze will look.  Minimal movements will give it a professional and shiny finish.  To glaze the cake, pour it over the middle of the cake and spread it to the edges, allowing it to fall over the edges.  Using a spatula, spread it evenly and quickly to give the edges a smooth, clean appearance.  Allow it to set over several hours and then serve.

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