A couple of weeks ago, we were at a friend's home one Saturday evening. There were a handful of adults, and a handful of kids as well - a pretty good mix. For food, my friend echoed the company he had over. The main course was a variety of delicious sub sandwiches and a big tray of appetizers, consisting mostly of fresh fruits. There were grapes, there was mango, there was pineapple, and there were pomegranate seeds.
I was particularly intrigued by the pomegranate seeds. They were almost sweet, ever so crunchy, and completely delightful. Vaguely familiar with the ancient fruit from which these seeds were derived, I wanted to learn more about them and at the insistence of our 10 year old son Ike, who fell in love with their taste, I have been buying them on a regular basis since that night.
Fast forward a few weeks from that night at our friends, when two days ago I received this iMessage from my sister, Chef Kathy, which had an almost urgent tone to it. It stated simply: "Look @NYT article on pomegranate & candied ginger bark." My sister is infinitely more creative than I am and when she suggests something like this, 9 times out of 10 I will take heed and follow her lead. I'm especially happy I did, in this case.
I put these holiday-centered treats together in a snap. Not having any candied ginger on hand, I instead slipped some fresh ginger root into my small food processor and added a touch of pure maple syrup to balance the hot zing of the fresh ginger. Similarly, I did not have bittersweet chocolate on hand but instead both unsweetened and semisweet baking chocolate. Long story short, I made do with what I had and the result was nothing less than completely delightful. What follows is essentially the recipe that I found for this treat but don't be afraid to improvise to what you have on hand, and to your taste. You will love these, as will your family and guests.
Chocolate Pomegranate Ginger Bark
- 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate 60% cacao, broken into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds from 1 large pomegranate
- 1-½ Tbs. minced candied ginger
- ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the chocolate in a wide, shallow microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until it just starts to melt, about 1 minute.
- Stir with a spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, heating in additional 15-second increments, if necessary.
- Gently stir most of the pomegranate seeds (reserve a tablespoon or so), and the ginger (break up any clumps with your fingers), into the chocolate.
- Scrape the chocolate mixture onto the baking sheet and spread it into an 8x10-inch rectangle.
- Sprinkle the remaining pomegranate seeds, along with the sea salt, evenly over the top, pressing them into the chocolate. refrigerate until fully set, about 30 minutes.
- Break the bark into chunks with your hands (be careful not to crush the seeds), and serve.
Use the back of a tablespoon to spread the bark and press the reserved pomegranate seeds into the bark.
Substitute 1 heaping teaspoon of fresh ground ginger root, cut with a small amount of sweetener of your choice. (For example, pure maple syrup.)
Experiment with the chocolate that you have on hand. I might have even added a few semi-sweet chocolate chips to bring the total mass of ch