13 April 2009

Hot, Hotter, Hottest!

Janet Hazen’s Hot, Hotter, Hottest! is one of those small little paperbacks put together to feature a specific ingredient or type of food. In this case it is hot food. The recipes are divided in groups featuring an ingredient known for its heat: ginger, horseradish, peppercorns, mustard and chilies.

There is a wide list of recipes from fruit to meat to seafood to cake, each one featuring a 1 to 10 heat ranking.

Figs With White Peppercorn Syrup and Basil

1/2 cup white peppercorns, bruised
1 large bunch fresh basil (Stems included), coarsely chopped
3 cups water
1 cup white wine
2 cups sugar
2 cups dried black figs, stemmed
2 tablespoons whole white peppercorns, for garnish
6 sprigs basil or mint, for garnish
Lavender, or other edible flowers, for garnish

Place the bruised peppercorns, basil, water, and wine in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Add sugar and return to a boil. Cook over high heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid is thick and syrupy. Strain through a fine wire mesh and return to the saucepan.

Add the figs to the syrup and cook over moderate heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the figs are very tender. Serve warm with some of its syrup and garnish with the whole peppercorns, sprigs of basil or mint and optionally with edible flowers.

Figs With White Peppercorn Syrup and Basil is rated a 6. I think it is more of 2, but then I love heat!

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