Pomegranates, an ancient fruit, dating back to biblical times, flowers between Passover (April 22, 2016) and Pentecost (May 15, 2016) and are ready to pick towards the end of summer. This autumn fruit was a symbol of prosperity and abundance and used to celebrate the fall harvest.
Pomegranates, the rather strange looking round red fruit with the crown on top, may be unfamiliar to many but, once you know how to crack into the outer rind to release the arils (juice sacs) you can enjoy the fiber-rich little seeds enclosed in their sweet-tart juice.
I use bosc pears in this recipe because they hold their shape when baking and I like the way they look. They are brownish in color and have a distinctive elegant appearance with a slender neck. As the pears bake and you prepare the mascarpone cream, your kitchen will fill with the comforting warm fragrance of cinnamon and cloves, reminding you that the holidays are just around the corner!
- 4 Bosc (or Anjou, Bartlet) pears, ripe but firm
- 1 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, plus some for garnish
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon mascarpone, softened
- 1 tablespoon honey
How to cut a pomegranate:
Cut the top off the pomegranate and discard and then cut it into manageable sections. Put the sections in a bowl filled with water and using your fingers, gently scoop out the seeds. Discard the rind and white membrane. Using a strainer, drain the water. The seeds are now ready to use. Each pomegranate yields approximately 3/4 cup of seeds. I have seen “just the seeds” in small containers in the refrigerator section of the market and Costco. Depending on the price of the whole fruit, it might be cost effective (and easier) to purchase the seeds.
- Using a blender, pulse the seeds until liquefied. You’ll have have about a cup of juice.
- In a small saucepan, combine the juice with the sugar. Bring to a boil and stir 1 minute until the sugar is completely dissolved. At this point you could strain out the seeds (I do not). Cool and set aside.
- Meanwhile, peel the pears and cut in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the core. Place the pear halves cut-side down in an oven-proof baking dish. Combine the syrup with lemon juice, cinnamon stick (broken in half) and the cloves. Spoon over each pear.
- Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 45 minutes, until tender.
- To make the mascarpone cream, whip the cream until soft peaks form and then mix in the vanilla, mascarpone and honey. This can be made in advance, as it keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.
- To serve, transfer a pear half to individual shallow bowls and spoon over some of the sauce. Scatter a few fresh arils over the sauce. Top with a dollop of mascarpone cream.