Iron Chef Chen’s Pomegranate Jelly (vegan version)

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/iron-chef-chens-almond-pudding-vegan-version

So based on my experience with making Iron Chef Chen’s Almond Tofu, I thought I’d take a stab at his Pomegranate Jelly dessert. The recipe for the Pomegranate Jelly can be found in Iron Chef Chen’s Knockout Chinese (p. 101).

The original recipe calls for –

4/5 c 200ml pomegranate juice
2 pomegranates, (seeds reserved for juicing)
2/5 (12g0 gelatin)
1 c (250 ml) water
150g (5 1/4 oz) sugar
3 T honey
kiwi fruit and canned peaches for garnish

First off, I discovered a mistake – 200ml pomegranate juice is actually closer to 3/4 c (6 oz) of juice. Secondly, sometimes, I may not have (enough) fresh pomegranates. So I did some checking on the web and the consensus was that each pomegranate had a yield of about 2 oz of juice.  So then the recipe would appear as:

3/4 c (6oz) pomegranate juice
2 x 2 oz more of pomegranate juice
2/5 oz (12g) leaf gelatin
1 c (250 ml) water
150g (5 1/4 oz) sugar
3 T honey
kiwi fruit and canned peaches for garnish

Preparing  Iron Chef Chen’s dessert then proceeds as follows
* Soaking the gelatin in water for 15 minutes
* remove the seeds from the fresh pomegranates, liquify its seeds   in a blender and strain, reserving the juice
* Add water, sugar to a wok and heat until the sugar dissolves and   reaches 175 degrees F. Remove from heat
* Drain the gelatin leaf and dissolve  it into the sugar water
* strain the gelatin/sugar/water into a bowl
* cool the gelatin mixture by placing bowl in ice water  and then add all pomegranate juices, honey and mix well
* pour into flat dish and chill until firm (about 3 hrs)
* Cut gelatin into large bite size slices and serve on   a dish garnished with kiwi fruit and cubed yellow peaches

Since I didn’t want to use gelatin, the recipe became –

1 1/4 c (10 oz) pomegranate juice
1 1/2 t of powdered agar
1 c (250 ml) water
150g (5 1/4 oz) sugar
3 T honey
kiwi fruit and canned peaches for garnish

The process for making the pomegranate jelly dessert could now proceed as follows –

* dissolve the sugar in water at (about 90 degrees C/194 degrees F)
* dissolve the honey into the sugar/water mixture at that temperature
* dissolve the agar into the sugar/water mixture at that temperature
* then add the pomegranate juice and cool to set.

How astonishingly simple!

weighing out the sugar that turns out to be...

weighing out the sugar that turns out to be…

Weighing out the sugar turned out to be 2/3 of a cup of sugar for the recipe. This made the recipe

..2/3rd's cup

..2/3rd’s cup

appear now as:

1 1/4 c (10 oz) pomegranate juice
1 1/2 tsp  powdered agar
1 c (250 ml) water
2/3 c sugar
3 Tbls honey
kiwi fruit and canned peaches for garnish

At this point, I realized this was going to be a ‘quick’ and  fun dessert to make. And so I began gathering the rest of my ingredients….

pomegranate juice for the dessert

pomegranate juice for the dessert

My wife had some pomegranate juice on hand  and then I got the cup of hot water to dissolve the sugar.

cup of 194 degrees F water

cup of 194 degrees F water

sugar dissolved into the water

sugar dissolved into the water

The sugar /water mixture was kept at 50% max heat while I got the agar powder measured out.

agar to replace the gelatin

agar to replace the gelatin

I then measured out the pomegranate juice and added the 3 tablespoons of honey to the sugar/water mixture.

Honey and measured out pomegranate juice

Honey and measured out pomegranate juice

honey blended in and just about to add the powdered agar

honey blended in and just about to add the powdered agar

Once the honey was dissolved, I quickly dissolved in the agar powder.  As agar mixture was slowly starting to thicken/gel, I mixed in the 10 oz of pomegranate juice. The mixture was moved to two ceramic bowls to cool and then to the refridgerator to set.

All ingredients blended and transferred to containers to cool and set

All ingredients blended and transferred to containers to cool and set

The next day, my wife helped out by preparing a dice of kiwi fruit and peaches…

peaches for the dessert

peaches for the dessert

To plate the dessert, I put down a ring mold that I filled with (first) the diced kiwi and then the diced peaches.  I used one of my measuring spoons like a melon baller to scoop out the pomegranate jelly into the molds.

pomegranate jelly scooped out

pomegranate jelly scooped out

The dessert plate was finished with fresh pomegranate seeds…

Pomegranate Jelly, kiwi, peaches and pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate Jelly, kiwi, peaches and pomegranate seeds

Iron Chef Chen's Pomegranate Jelly, revealed

Iron Chef Chen’s Pomegranate Jelly, revealed

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I tasted this dessert because of the expected tartness of the pomegranate juice. Both my wife and I found this dessert surprisingly good.  The ‘jelly’ seemed to have nearly the right texture, softness and consistency.  My wife thought the dessert could be a little less sweet. I, too, liked the dessert but thought the presence of honey was a bit on the strong side.  I think if I make this dessert again, I think I’d lower the amount of honey and may be reduce the amount of sugar (maybe reduce both the honey and sugar by half).

Thank you Iron Chef Chen for sharing this wonderful dessert recipe!

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