Now, now, don’t go rolling your eyes at me and say, “Weren’t you just on your soap box ranting about culinary cries for attention with this whole savory as sweet fad.” Contrary to their name, pink peppercorns are not, botanically speaking, pepper as we commonly know it. They are from a different plant that was discovered in the Andes (according to Tony Hill’s The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices). And while they give a slight peppery bite, they register decidedly on the sweeter side of the spectrum. To me they taste like a spicy raspberry. At pastry school we made a yogurt pound cake with pink peppercorns and it was delicious!
Perhaps you may not want a whole ice cream shop scoop of pink peppercorn ice cream on it’s own (though once you try it, you may think otherwise), but as an accompaniment to some a berry tart or pie or cobbler, this would be delightful. Or try adding some crushed pink peppercorns to your next fruit compote... or... or... or...
Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream
(makes about a quart of ice cream)
1 tbsp pink peppercorns
2 cups milk
7 egg yolks
6 oz sugar
Large pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream
Crush the pink peppercorns with the side of a knife and combine with the milk in a saucepan. Bring this to a scald and remove from the heat. Whip the egg yolks, sugar and salt to lighten. Temper the hot milk into the yolks. Pour back into the saucepan and slowly cook, stirring constantly over medium-low heat, until thickened (~185º). Remove from the custard from the heat and stir in the cream. Cool and chill the custard overnight with the peppercorns still in it. When you are ready to churn the ice cream, strain out the peppercorns and discard. Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker, transfer to a freezer container and freeze for several hours before serving.