POM Pomegranate Gnocchi with Pomegranate Chocolate Ganache
A couple years ago, Christey and I ate at Thomas Keller's Bouchon restaurant at the Venetian in Las Vegas. It was the first (and so far only) Keller restaurant we have visited. I had Keller's gnocchi parisienne, which is a different way of making them from the more common potato or semolina versions. This recipe alone was the reason I bought his Bouchon cookbook, and I've since been inspired by several recipes. Gnocchi parisienne are savory, but made from the more traditionally sweet pâte à choux dough. For the savory version, mustard, cheese, and herbs are added.
For June's POM Pomegranate recipe, I decided to try to take the pâte à choux gnocchi back toward a sweet direction, and made a dessert gnocci with POM 100% pomegranate juice, served with a pomegranate juice and chocolate ganache.
Traditional pâte à choux starts with water, butter, and flour cooked together. I substituted POM for the water to give it flavor and a bit of sweetness. I started with 3/4 cup POM, 6 tablespoons of butter, and a good pinch of salt, heated in a pan until simmering.
I added a cup of flour immediately, and stirred until the flour started to steam, and have a bit of a cooked smell to it. The Pomegranate juice gave the flour a nutty, almost chocolate color, with a bit of pink to it.
I put the dough in a mixing bowl, added a couple teaspoons of sugar for a little more sweetness, and paddled the dough with a mixer until the dough cooled off a bit.
When the dough was cool enough not to cook raw eggs, I added three of them, waiting in between until each egg was mixed into the dough completely. The dough should be smooth and flow slowly off the paddle.
I put the dough in a pastry bag with a 5/8" straight tip, and let it sit in the bag while a big pot of water came almost to a simmer. I squeezed the bag and sliced each gnocchi to about a 1 inch size, and poached them in the water for about 5 minutes. They sink at first, then rise to the top and sometimes roll as one side cooks a little more than the other. I put 20 or so in the water at a time.
When they're almost cooked through (a couple minutes after they rise to the top), I take them out and drain them -- they'll cook again later.
Again, they look a little like chocolate nougat, with a hint of pinkness. They can be frozen at this point for a couple months, and since this recipe makes 60 or so gnocchi, that might be a good idea for some of them!
For the ganache, I made a fake double-boiler by putting a mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water. I added a half package of chocolate chips to melt, but any of your favorite chocolate would work. When the chocolate was melted, I added 1/2 cup heavy cream and stirred it in. Once the cream was incorporated, I added the rest (1/4 cup) POM 100% pomegranate juice and stirred that in. I put the ganache in a squeeze bottle and refrigerated just until the ganache thickened a little (if it's too thick, it can sit in a warm water bath to warm up, but ganache is usually thin enough to keep from goin completely solid).
I want to flash-saute the gnocchi in butter with a little sugar, to give the outside a little crispness and finish the cooking in the center. The outsides will get a little browned in spots. I drain quickly on paper towels, then put on a plate with the ganache and dust with a little powdered sugar. It's best to serve these warm!
Recipe: 1 cup AP flour 3/4 cup POM 100% pomegranate juice 6 tbsp butter 1/2 tsp salt 3 eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips 1/4 cup POM 100% pomegranate juice 1/2 cup heavy cream
Deconstruction: I was expecting these to turn out more red, and the color blended into the flour and butter more than I expected. It didn't matter, as the little gnocchi nuggets were pretty tasty -- a little caramel on the outside and soft on the inside. The ganache was fantastic, and we've since had it on ice cream. Several times. This was kind of an experiment for me: transforming the savory back into sweet. From what I understand, if I had piped the pomegranate pâte à choux into a muffin tin, or onto a baking sheet, I might have got pomegranate popovers or eclairs, which might be another fun experiment with the dough.