Flavor of the Month: POM Wonderful Pomegranate Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Okay, so I know that I missed doing a Flavor of the Month entry last month. Unfortunately, I was still stuck in that damn ankle cast at the time and I couldn't really get around yet, so I had to skip it. Thank goodness the ankle has healed up nicely and I'm back in business. It will still be a few more months before I can get back out on the tennis court, but at least I'm mobile again!
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by POM Wonderful about sampling their 100% Pomegranate Juice. I'd seen the juice at the supermarket many times, but had never tried it before. So, I gratefully accepted the offer and did a little research.
It turns out that pomegranate juice is not only a tasty drink, but boasts many health benefits as well. Pomegranate juice is loaded with antioxidants - about three times more than are found in green tea or red wine. Antioxidants help to guard the body against the substances that can cause premature aging, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and lots of other diseases or health conditions.
POM guarantees that their product is 100% authentic pomegranate juice with no sugars or other additives. They grow, juice and bottle all of their own fruit. There are no middlemen. And, POM's juice is made exclusively from the Wonderful variety of pomegranates, which is considered to be the best of over one hundred different varieties. Another great thing about POM is that theirs is the only pomegranate juice guaranteed to come exclusively from fruit grown in their own sunny Central California orchards.
Within a week, a case of cute little bottles of pomegranate juice arrived. I drank one chilled over ice and I really liked it. That juice was good stuff! Then, I started thinking about some different ways to use it. Since I was also trying to decide on an ice cream recipe for this month's Flavor of the Month, the two ideas converged and this Pomegranate Chip Ice Cream was conceived.
I had never made an ice cream base using just juice as a flavoring ingredient before. I was worried that the ice cream might not set up properly, or that it might be icy. So, I decided to reduce the juice with sugar and turn it into a thick syrup before I added it to my other ingredients. Making a pomegranate syrup is super simple. All you do is mix the juice and sugar with a little lemon juice, bring it to a boil and keep it simmering until it reduces to the thickness you want.
Once my POM juice had reduced into a lovely, thick, intensely flavorful syrup, I let it cool to room temperature. Then, I prepared the base for the ice cream using the syrup, cream, milk and cornstarch. Once the ice cream was churned, I stirred in the chocolate chunks and a few tablespoons of pomegranate liqueur. I did this not only for extra flavor, but also to keep the ice cream from getting too hard in the freezer. If you don't have access to this liqueur, you can use another flavored liqueur or plain vodka. You can also leave it out entirely.
The end result was an ice cream that was very creamy and smooth, although the pomegranate flavor was not as pronounced as I thought it would be. It certainly didn't have that sharp tang that the juice had. Perhaps, it would have retained more of its bite if I had made a frozen yogurt instead. I liked it. It just wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The bittersweet of the chocolate chunks played well against the mellow, laid back fruitiness of the ice cream. I think I would consider this ice cream one for the grown ups. It didn't have that "in your face" sweetness that many ice cream flavors have. It was subtle and sophisticated. Perfect with a cup of after dinner espresso.
POM Wonderful Pomegranate Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream (Printable Recipe)
2 cups bottled POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pomegranate liqueur such as PAMA (optional)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks
Combine pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, or until juice has reduced to about 1 cup. It should be the consistency of syrup.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. Syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat to warm it up. In a bowl, whisk the cornstarch and cream together until smooth. Add cream mixture to the saucepan and stir. Heat while stirring until mixture begins to boil.
Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few minutes. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to release the steam. Stir in the pomegranate syrup and salt.
Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, until well chilled.
Once chilled, freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
When ice cream has finished churning, scoop it into an airtight freezer container. Stir in the liqueur, if using and the chocolate bits. Freeze until desired firmness is reached.
Makes approximately 1 quart.
Past Flavor of the Month entries:
Here are some other great recipes using Pom Wonderful: