A few months ago, Monica sent me a bunch of Italian cooking magazines from 15+ years ago that her mom had lying around. They all had such beautiful pictures and I don’t care what anyone says, the photo is what entices me to make something, especially a recipe I’ve never made, nor seen before and most certainly when said recipe is in another language. And with several photos of step by step instructions included, that was another plus. Since pomegranates are the new super food, they for sure must cancel out any sugar, butter, white flour and extra egg yolks in the recipe. So Torta alla Melegrana, adapted from a recipe in a 1997 issue of Finalmente Dolci magazine was my project.
First of all, I just want to say that even if Italian were my native language, I would have had difficulty with this recipe because of the way it was written. The very first rule of recipe writing is to list the ingredients in the order you use them. This must be an American thing because I still can’t figure out the way the ingredients were listed. But I had fun translating the recipe (Luciana, my Italian teacher would be so proud), converting the measurements (my brain got a workout) and reorganizing (because…well, I like things that way) .
But let’s move on to the pomegranates. Nowadays, a lot of stores sell containers of fresh pomegranate seeds which certainly saves a lot of time but the day I went to the grocery store, there were none. So I figured I’d just buy a few pomegranates because how difficult could it be to deseed them? Having no idea how to tell a ripe one, my impatient son, who was rushing me along in the store, googled “how to tell if a pomegranate is ripe”. Pomegranates.org said “pomegranates in the store are picked when ripe” and “they should feel heavy as if it’s very full of juice.” Seriously? That’s it? He tossed a few in the cart and kept moving.
Isn’t this a beautiful looking pomegranate photo below? Well, this is NOT what the ones I bought looked like. (However it is a photo I took of a gorgeous pomegranate in Israel – nice, huh?)
When I got home and cut them, guess what? The seeds weren’t ripe and ruby red at all, more of a palish, washed out pink. The next step was to deseed them and again, the internet was supposed to be my friend. I read that to deseed them, you simply cut them in half, whack them with a big spoon and the seeds easily fall right out into the bowl. I even watched a couple of YouTube videos just to confirm this. And you know what?? Everyone lied! I kept whacking those poor pomegranates with a huge metal spoon again and again until finally, finally three pasty pink hued seeds fell out. I ended up tearing the fruits apart and picking out each seed one by one until I finally had the amount I needed.
So I pass along to you my new found pomegranate knowledge and a spectacular recipe; no matter how you get your pomegranate seeds, this cake is worth it. The torta has a nice firm cakey type of bottom layer with a wonderful ricotta cheesecake filling speckled with (what should be) beautiful, crimson seeds. So don’t believe everything you read on the internet (except anything you read here, of course) and if you already have your pomegranate deseeding technique wired, let me know because I’d truly love to know the secret.
I’m not just enthusiastic about travel—I live travel, each and every day. From plotting out my clients’ next great escape, to logging airmiles on my own adventures (I always have a suitcase packed and at the ready!), travel drives me in everything I do.
I’ve learned a few things along the way, and I’d love to share them with you. Learn a bit more about my journey to founding my own travel agency—it involves quite a few glasses of Italian wine!
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