Rich, creamy, vanilla bean-flecked pudding tempers the tart-sweet pomegranate compote. Pick out small, festive glass dessert dishes for this pretty parfait.
To prepare compote:
Mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice and lemon juice; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Refrigerate while you prepare the pudding. To prepare pudding: Combine milk and half-and-half in a medium heavy saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (or add vanilla extract). Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk egg, egg yolk, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch in a medium bowl. Reheat the milk mixture just until steaming. Carefully whisk one-third of the steaming milk into the egg mixture. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in butter. To prepare parfaits: Divide the pomegranate compote among six 6-ounce (3/4 cup) parfait glasses, ramekins or other small dessert cups. Spoon the pudding mixture over the compote. Cover and refrigerate until the pudding is well chilled and firm, at least 3 hours. To serve, garnish each parfait with pomegranate seeds and a mint sprig, if desired.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the compote (Step 1), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Cover and refrigerate parfaits for up to 8 hours.
Tip: To seed a pomegranate, fill a large bowl with water. Lightly score the fruit into quarters from crown to stem end, cutting through the skin but not into the interior of the fruit. Hold the fruit under water, break it apart and use your hands to gently separate the plump seeds (arils) from the outer skin and white pith. The seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl and the pith will float to the surface. Discard the pith. Pour the seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry. Seeds can be frozen for up to 3 months.
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