Earlier this month I saw that fresh pomegranates were in abundance at my market. I love pomegranates, they are not only delicious, but beautiful as well. Cut into a ripe pomegranate and you are rewarded with the sweet ruby red treasure contained within. I'm not exactly sure why, but for me they herald the beginning of holiday season. Maybe it's that glorious red color. Whatever the reason, fresh pomegranates mean the holidays must be upon us! With the holiday party season in mind, I thought I use my fresh pomegranates to make some appetizers. These are easy and fairly quick to make. You can make up the pomegranate syrup ahead of time. It will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. Make extra syrup, it's so good you'll want to have some to drizzle it over ice cream, yogurt, pancakes etc.
Blue Cheese Pomegranate Bites
1 (8-ounce) piece of blue cheese, chilled (you can also use the crumbled blue cheese)
1 1/2 packages frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1/3 cup pomegranate syrup (recipe below)
1/4 cup arils (seeds) from 1 large pomegranate
If not using the crumbled blue cheese, cut cheese into 24 cubes, and set aside.
Roll pastry into a 15- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface; cut into 24 squares. Fit squares into miniature muffin pans, extending corners slightly above cup rims.
Bake pastry at 425° for 10 to 12 minutes or until it begins to brown. Remove from oven, and gently press handle of a wooden spoon into center of each pastry, forming a shell.
Spoon 1/2 teaspoon syrup into each shell; top with a piece of blue cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. Top with the fresh pomegranate arils (seeds) and serve immediately.
4 cups fresh pomegranate juice
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preparation:In a saucepan, combine pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice over medium heat.
Stir until sugar has completely dissolved.
Allow to cook over medium high heat for 20-25 minutes, or until juice is the consistency of syrup.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
These appetizers are also very versatile. 24 wine-and-cheese crackers may be substituted. Top each cracker with the cheese, and drizzle with the syrup; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Top with the fresh pomegranate arils. Brie could be substituted for the blue cheese.