Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet: as delicious as it is pretty
I’m a big believer in “brown food tastes good,” but sometimes you just need something festive and pretty. When your festive and pretty dish tastes as good as it looks, it is a keeper. Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet shows off with a gorgeous color, thanks to fresh pomegranate juice, and the winter spices balance the tartness. It’s wonderful on its own, and it would be fabulous in a glass of champagne. For me, it reminds me of my travels in the Balkans.
An embarrassment of pomegranate riches in my Balkan travels
I had an embarrassment of pomegranate riches in the Balkans. They grew on the coasts of Croatia and Montenegro, and I spied trees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, too. A pomegranate tree grew in the little terrace of one of my favorite cafés in Split. They were just getting to be in season while I was on the coast and started appearing at all of the markets.
Pomegranates make lovely drinks
Later that month, I had a refreshing homemade pomegranate drink from some village women in Počitelj, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its brilliant pink color didn’t look like the bottled pomegranate juice I’d had in the US, and it wasn’t nearly as puckery. Honestly, I thought it a bit suspect, but now that I’ve made fresh pomegranate juice, I know that was the real deal. I thought back to the pomegranate wine from Perast, Montenegro.
I gained a most valuable skill
On a farm in the shadow of Klis Fortress, I learned how to open a pomegranate without making my kitchen look like a horror movie. With my newfound skill, I enjoyed fresh pomegranates from the Green Market, and I didn’t get a terrible rating from my Airbnb host when I left for destroying his kitchen.
So revelatory, it warranted its own post
It was so revelatory that when I posted causally about learning how to open a pomegranate Facebook, several friends messaged me to ask me how to do it. There’s a whole post and YouTube video up now. It might not change your life, but it will make it a bit less messy.
Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet—an homage to my Balkan travels
I absolutely loved, as you know, Kuhano Vino, Croatia’s mulled wine. The warming spices in the wine I enjoyed at Zagreb’s Christmas Market, particularly the star anise, were so delicious that I made it within a week of being back in the US. My mom loved the star anise and suggested including it in my spice blend for Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet. Good call, Mom!
Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet takes the warming spices from Kuhano Vino and the refreshment of the frozen pomegranate drink from Počitelj, together with the skill I picked up in Klis, and creates Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet, a refreshing and festive dish.
Fresh pomegranate juice—a revelation—but bottled works
Once you know how to open a pomegranate without making a huge mess, it’s absolutely simple to make fresh pomegranate juice. I posted the method in the Wonder & Sundry Recipe Box. Subscribe for access! It will take you about ten minutes to open a pomegranate and extract the juice, and it’s so worth it, that you’ll be making it on repeat whenever pomegranates are in season.
You can, of course, use bottled pomegranate juice to save on time. Just add a little water to dilute it.
Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet tastes complex, but it’s easy to make
The flavors in Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet belie its simplicity. It’s simple syrup steeped with lemon and spices, and pomegranate juice. Chill in the fridge to let the flavors develop (it’s really best if you can wait a day before churning). An optional blender step improves the texture and takes no time at all (do be careful—we worked so hard to not make a mess!).
Then just pour into your ice cream maker to churn, and you’ll have an exquisite sorbet that your friends and loved ones will admire (or that you savor after a Merry Little Solo Christmas Dinner and add to your champagne for New Year’s Eve).
If you don’t have an ice cream mixer, just make a granita!
If you don’t happen to have an ice cream maker, no worries! Just make a granita. You’ll find instructions for how to do this in the notes section.
How have your travels inspired your cooking?
Do you ever create dishes after you return from your travels? I’d love to hear all about it. Please share below in the comments!
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Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet
- 1 Ice cream maker My ice cream maker makes one pint at a time
- 1 Blender optional, but will help texture
Spiced Simple Syrup (double batch)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced, any seeds removed
- 1 cinnamon stick demo uses 2 half sticks
- 2 star anise
- 2 cardamom pods optional
- 2 cups fresh pomegranate juice can substitute 1 ⅔ cups bottled and ⅓ cup of water
- 1 cup Spiced Simple Syrup
To Make the Spiced Simple Syrup
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Over low heat, slowly melt the sugar. Do not boil
- Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature, leaving in the lemon slices and spices to continue to steep
- Remove spices and lemon slices and transfer to a clean jar until ready to use. Leftover Spiced Simple Syrup will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks
To Make the Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet Base
- Combine pomegranate juice and one cup of the Spiced Simple Syrup in a clean jar. Mix to combine, and then refrigerate for at least several hours, and preferably a full day to allow the flavors to develop. Base will keep in the refrigerator for a few days
Churn the Spiced Pomegranate Sorbet
- Remove the base from the refrigerator and stir gently. Add base to a blender (note in the demo that my ice cream maker churns 1 pint, and the recipe is for 1 quart, so I am churning half the base in the demo. If yours makes a quart, add all of it to the blender). Blend on high for a minute or so to help the texture. Be careful! Pomegranate stains everything it touches
- Transfer mixture to your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions
- Transfer the churned sorbet into freezing container (work quickly!) and freeze for at least four hours before serving
- To serve, allow to soften slightly