More post! Lucky me. A black and white postcard of Clint Eastwood, and an envelope full of recipe cuttings. Something about having a paper copy is instantly more appealing to me. It makes me want to run to the kitchen, prop the recipe up in the toaster but still manage to smudge it with butter.
Digression. I like post and paper and also pomegranates. (Things beginning with P.) Apart from adding a jewelled touch to fancy salads, pomegranates have never seemed to me an obvious ingredient for baking. They are pretty on their own, red seeds hiding in the hard orb. Like pistachios, the pleasure comes in cracking them open and popping out the insides.
The picture for this recipe really showed off the fruit: a sparkling ruby slipper-made-cake. A layer of pomegranate seeds that melded into a buttery yellow cake with the help of a deep red caramel. It tastes just as it sounds. The cake itself is dense and rich with butter, just a touch of vanilla, the caramel-pomegranate top sweet but tangy.
We had it for afternoon tea, still warm. It was admired all round.
And now, a pomegranate peeling tip pinched from Smitten Kitchen (this is clearly a day for Ps): fill a clean sink with cold water. Score the pomegranate skin as if you were going to cut it in quarters, but just pull it apart with your hands and let it fall into the water. Crumble the seeds gently to separate and remove the inner membranes. The latter will float to the top and the seeds will sink. Scoop out the floating debris with a sieve and chuck out. Then scoop out and drain the seeds.
That was too many words for a simple concept. You get the idea: no explosions of scarlet pomegranate juice, no seeds squashed in the cutting. No fiddling.
Just like this cake, no fuss, delicious reward.
Upside-down pomegranate cake
from a French magazine of which I only have the initials CWF; they recommend POM juice or to halve a pomegranate and squeeze it like an orange
1 large pomegranate
for the caramel:
100ml pomegranate juice
1 tsp lemon juice
for the cake:
150g butter, melted
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
Heat the oven to 180C. Melt the butter in it at the same time if you are being efficient. Grease a large round cake tin and line it with baking paper.
Peel and de-seed your pomegranate. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the sugar and pomegranate juice to a boil. Let it bubble away merrily for 5 minutes or so, until you only just start to smell caramel. (The colour is deceptive because of the juice.) Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and tip into the cake tin. Swirl to coat the bottom evenly. Sprinkle your pomegranate seeds on top.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Sift the flour and baking powder and stir into eggs, with melted butter (not too hot) and vanilla. When smooth, pour into tin to cover caramel/pomegranate seeds.
Bake for 35-40 minutes. When the cake has risen, come away from the sides of the pan and turned a nice golden-yellow, you should be done. Check with a skewer. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge, place a plate over it and turn upside down. Peel off the paper, replace any stray seeds.
Serve with crème fraîche or sour cream to balance the rich texture. Still good kept in a tin at least 3 days later. (I cannot verify further for it is All Gone.)