Spice rack: Black pepper

06 November, 2009
Page 20 

Peppercorns are the fruit of a flowering vine grown in South India. The peppercorns are harvested and dried before use. Different varieties available are green peppercorns, which are the immature fruits, white peppercorns, which are the centre of the peppercorn with the black husk removed and black peppercorns, which are the whole dried fruit and, as such, the type with the most kick. Many savoury recipes the world over contain salt and pepper, but in some recipes it is pepper that has a starring role. You would expect to find pepper in savoury baked recipes, for example foccacia with cracked black pepper and rosemary, black pepper and cheese scones and black pepper and parmesan biscotti, but it can also be included in sweet baked recipes, particularly when combined with other spices. The Scottish Hogmanay favourite, Black Bun, is a pastry case packed with dried fruit and flavoured with spices, including a half teaspoon of black pepper. Black pepper also mixes well with cinnamon and cloves in Spice Cake.

Black pepper is known to go well with strawberries so why not add some to strawberry and black pepper scones or make cracked black pepper shortbread to serve with strawberries and cream.

Fiona Burrell, co-author of Leiths Baking Bible, from the Leiths School of Food and Wine





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