RECIPE: Pomegranate, dried cherries give gingerbread festive flavor

Jason Schreiber’s new cookbook, “Fruit Cake: Recipes for the Curious Baker” (William Morrow, $32.50), is packed with innovative fruit-forward cakes, plenty of which feature citrus, dried fruits and warm spices that are apropos for winter baking. One, in particular, is appropriate for the holiday season: Pomegranate Molasses and Cherry Cake.

“Scanning the ingredients, you may recognize it for what it is: gingerbread,” writes Schreiber, “but not that of the cookie-cutout persuasion.”

Pomegranate molasses and juice, along with dried cherries, give this dense, dairy-free cake bright, distinctive flavor. And the cocktail of pomegranate juice, white rum and orange liqueur that gets poured into holes poked into the cake as soon as it’s pulled from the oven adds a touch of tutti-frutti festivity.

If you can’t find pomegranate molasses on the grocery shelf, you can make your own. A recipe in Adeena Sussman’s “Sababa: Fresh Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen” (Avery, 2019) calls for combining 4 cups pure pomegranate juice with 2 tablespoons honey. Bring it to a low boil over medium-high heat, then boil until it reduces to 2 cups. Gradually begin lowering the heat, and letting it simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to 1 scant cup and is “visibly thickened but not as thick as honey.” She adds that “the bubbles will become foamy and small — this is how you know you’re just about ready.”

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Credit: handout

Credit: handout

From “Fruit Cake” by Jason Schreiber. Copyright © 2020 by Jason Schreiber. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

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