This month, we are playing with pink peppercorns.
Unlike how the name suggests, these are not related to actual peppercorns. They are the dried berries of Baies rose plant. They taste peppery but are not spicy in flavour. The pink peppercorns are sweet and mild.
These delicate little spices are rosy in colour and are brittle compared to the black peppercorn. They are soft with papery skins and can easily be ground by hand. I love how the colour accents the dishes that they are added to. They are very eye-catching and I’m so happy I stocked up the last time I was in France.
Although great with chicken and fish, I was hoping to find a sweet way to showcase these pink berries. I was intrigued when I found Martha Stewart’s Peppercorn Shortbread. Instead of using a variety of peppercorns, I stuck with the ones I wanted to showcase.
The combination of the buttery shortbread with the peppery berries sounds strange but it really works!
Adapted slightly from Martha Stewart
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tsp pink peppercorns, coarsely ground
3/4 cup icing sugar
3/4 tsp pink peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 TB granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees, with rack in center. Lightly butter a 10-inch springform pan, and set aside.
Stir together flour, salt, and peppercorns; set aside. Put butter and icing sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until combined.
Using a small offset spatula, spread dough evenly into prepared pan, smoothing top. Bake until shortbread is golden brown, about 1 hour 20 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack. Immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar and remaining peppercorns. Remove springform; let shortbread cool completely. Cut into wedges.