Use Pink Peppercorn In Desserts For A Subtle Floral Note

Long before we came to know desserts as sugary confections that round out a meal, they started as either sweet or savory bites that were served in between courses. They weren't even called desserts prior to the 17th century. Rather, they were known as entremets or interval dishes, and during the Middle Ages in France, they consisted of fresh or dried fruit, spiced candies, and spiced wine. All this historical trivia is to say that using flavors other than sugar in dessert is neither strange nor novel, but you can elevate the taste of after-meal treats with an unexpected spice — pink peppercorn. 

Often classified as a type of peppercorn even though it's harvested from a different plant, these dried berries are lightly sweet and have a subtle pepper quality. They also have a delicate floral scent, which makes them a popular component in perfumes. These characteristics make pink peppercorn a great addition to desserts as long as you consider how it can complement other flavors.

Its floral notes, for example, can blend beautifully with other flower-forward desserts like rosewater-infused Turkish delight and lemon lavender cake. Speaking of lemon, citrus-flavored treats also work well with pink peppercorn's berry-like sweetness to create a fresh, tangy, and sugary flavor profile that comes with a kick. And of course, a little spice always works to cut through rich and creamy ingredients, so use pink peppercorn to balance the velvety texture of chocolate, custard, and cream cheese.

Ways to infuse pink peppercorn into desserts

Pink peppercorn is equally versatile when it comes to the ways you can incorporate it into desserts. Sprinkle them whole or grind them first before adding them to your cake batter or pastry dough, making sure to mix them well so the dessert gets suffused with their mild flavor and heat. Do this with fudge brownies, fruity tarts, cookies, and even pancakes, and discover a new dimension to enjoying classic sweet treats. You can also infuse this spice into creams, sweet sauces, and syrups that you pipe on, pour over, or serve beside desserts, like honey elderberry syrup. For this kind of application, it's better to crush the pink peppercorns so they can release their essential oils into the liquid or emulsion.

Be careful not to add too much of the spice since pink peppercorn can overshadow the other flavors of the dish, especially when ground. About a teaspoon (around two to three whole pink peppercorns) would be enough, although you can start with a smaller amount first and then build up as you perfect your recipe.

Even the color of pink peppercorns can add flair to your dessert presentation. Use them whole as a garnish on cakes, tarts, and custards, right beside fresh red berries for an elegant plating. You can also make pink peppercorn-infused frosting also spot its rosy flecks in the cream, creating an intriguing visual that's appropriately matched with a subtle aroma and a deliciously complex flavor.