It is most definitely spring here in the Czech Republic. Yet I find myself clinging a bit desperately to winter. In the last few chilly days I've been trying to wear out my winter gear, knowing that it will be put away for some time. I eye up the strawberries in the market with suspicion, as I know that just because spring is in the air it does not make Czech strawberries grow this early. I can wait. I can be patient.
I know they will come.
In the meantime, I continue relying on my 'winter' fruits - imported fruit that cannot possibly be grown in this region any time of year - bananas, oranges, mango, kiwis, pineapple, and pomegranates. Bites of things I wouldn't dream of eating in the summer when Czech berries will be nearly throwing themselves at me.
So I bought my last pomegranate of the season. I wanted to do something special with it, not just slowly pick at the lil' jeweled bits until my fingertips were all stained up, as usually tends to happen.
I wanted layers of pastry and maple syrup and nuts.
I rummaged around.
This is what I came up with.
The hubs really liked it, but to be honest, I had higher expectations. I imagined a sweetness akin to baklava. It's more of a mild breakfast pastry. Good with coffee, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and/or maple syrup, or maybe even a dollop of freshly whipped cream on top if you've got the time.
Serves 8 big slices
Eat with coffee
1 9oz. (270g) package puff pastry
2 cups (200g) ground almonds
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup raspberries (frozen)
a pinch a cinnamon
To seed the pomegranate: Score the outside of the fruit into quarters with the tip of a knife. Firmly break it open with your hands (if you just quarter it with the knife you'll slice up a lot of the seeds, which may be a waste if you want them whole, and may be extra messy to boot.) Plunge into a bowl of water and separate the seeds from the white membrane. This will be easier than doing it dry, as you won't muck up your counter tops/hands and the membrane parts floats to the top and seeds to the bottom. Just scoop up the floating bits before straining the seeds, and you've got a got cup of tidy little juice bombs at your disposal.
Reserve 1/4 - 1/3 cup of seeds for garnish. Combine the rest of the pomegranate seeds with the almonds, maple syrup, raspberries, and cinnamon. Mix well until it resembles a thick paste.
Cut the puff pastry into a few long rectangles. Add a long line of nut paste along the center of each. Roll up like a long snake and pinch the seams together. Coil together on a pan, leaving about half a centimeter gap between each ring of the coils (to allow for the puffing action that goes along with puff pastry.) Brush the tops lightly with mixed egg, and sprinkle with vanilla sugar.
Bake at 425°F/220°C until deep golden, roughly 30 minutes (I forgot to time it though, just kept an eye on it.)
Dobrou Chut'/ Enjoy.