Counter Action: Pomegranate–chocolate pie

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Do you ever think of something, get excited by how innovative it seems, and then learn that it’s been done before?

I remember learning about McCarthyism in middle school, and realizing with glorious excitement how similar it was to the hysteria surrounding the Salem Witch Trials. Someone should write a book about that, I thought immediately. Someone should write a book with those two historical events in parallel. You can imagine my frustration when I discovered, some years later, that a brash young upstart named Arthur Miller had already done that.

Similarly, a few years after that, I was delighted to find out how deliciously pomegranate seeds paired with dark chocolate. I have discovered something amazing, I thought. I have discovered a bold new flavor combo that no one has ever tried before.

Oh, the insolence of youth. Not only was I not the first one to try this, but Trader Joe’s, I quickly found out, had already released a pomegranate chocolate bar.

But no matter. Just because something has been done before doesn’t mean we can’t try to improve upon it, right? That’s what I attempted to do with this pie. The slight tartness of the filling … the mouthfeel of the whipped cream … the sweet saltiness of the chocolate crust … if you’re looking for a bold dessert to bring to a party, I’ve got just the thing.

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Pomegranate–chocolate pie

Ingredients:

  • Pre-made 9-inch Oreo cookie pie crust
  • 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c. pomegranate juice
  • Whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and/or pomegranate seeds to garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and pomegranate juice. (Would a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder add even more depth of flavor? Try it out and let me know!)
  2. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15–20 minutes, or until the middle of the pie stops jiggling.
  3. Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and/or pomegranate seeds. Serve with coffee.
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Counter Action: Sweet potato dinner rolls

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Sometimes I feel like I have a good grasp on this adult thing.

I go off to work in my suit and nametag (or to class in nice jeans and a cardigan). I pack lean protein and leafy greens for lunch. I work at a standing desk and swig water all day. My gums, my joints, my weight, and my professional profile are on my mind. Cat hair on my clothing legitimately worries me.

And then I get home and all bets are off. Cookie dough leaps from the fridge into my mouth of its own accord. I still read YA fiction. Cat hair is of no concern. Given a slow holiday weekend, I’ll watch several episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a row with no remorse. A couple of weeks ago, I realized that the church where I attend Evensong also offers a free yoga class right after Evensong … so I could conceivably wear my yoga pants to church?? Is this real life?

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These rolls are a bit of both worlds. They’re the kind of thing you could serve at a fancy dinner party or your in-laws’ Thanksgiving. Or you could make half a tray for yourself and eat them with turkey and cranberry sauce, cackling to yourself as you watch your fourth straight episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a flexible recipe, really.

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Sweet potato dinner rolls

(barely adapted from an AllRecipes.com recipe)

  • ½ c. warm water
  • 2¼ tsp. dry active yeast
  • 4 T. brown sugar, divided
  • ½ c. sweet potato purée (½ of a large sweet potato, sprayed with cooking spray, microwaved under plastic wrap for 3–4 minutes, and mashed thoroughly)
  • 3 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten slightly
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3½–4 c. flour
  • 1 T. butter, softened

Directions:

  1. Combine warm water, yeast, and 1 T. brown sugar. Let sit 5 minutes.
  2. Add rest of brown sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and sweet potato purée. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add flour slowly until dough is kneadable and not too sticky.
  4. Knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, and passes the windowpane test. Place in warm greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and tea towel. Let rise in warm place (like an oven that’s been turned on for a minute or two) for an hour.
  5. Punch down dough and roll into balls a little larger than golf balls. Cover again with plastic wrap and tea towel and let rise in warm place for an hour.
  6. Bake rolls at 375°F for 10–12 minutes. Brush tops with softened butter and continue baking until golden brown.

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EDIT:

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