Paper Chef #9 – Sweet Heat

Pprchef9

This is my first effort at Paper Chef.  If you aren’t familiar, essentially it’s similar to Iron Chef in that the ingredients are nominated and then participants have the weekend to pull an original recipe together. 

This round requests that, dried chili peppers, edible flowers, peaches and a local ingredient appear in the recipe.  The only non-local ingredient in this recipe was a pinch of salt and organic sugar (Paraguay). My choice of local ingredient is Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese.  Everything is better with this cheese. The locally-grown variety of peach is Indian Blood Red.

I’ve been experimenting now with chili peppers for about two years. My fascination deepened on a culinary vacation to Oaxaca. This simple syrup was a idea that came to me late one night after reading Southwestern cookbooks. Thanks go out out to Owen at Tomatilla and the Paper Chef event who have provided the inspiration for bringing the mix of ingredients for this dessert.  It has a mellow, sweet heat that is sure to please.

Sweet Summer Heat

Serves 2

Pepper Pulp

1 dried Ancho chile  (make sure it’s pliable & about 4-5" in length)
2 cups water

Simple Syrup

1 cup water

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Other

1 firm-ripe large peach

1/8 cup Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese

Organic Dried Lavender

Method

Simmer chile in 2 cups water in a medium saucepan, uncovered. Turning the chile over once or twice, until softened, about 15 minutes. Transfer chile to a cutting board. The pepper "broth" can be saved for another use or discarded.

When cool enough to handle, de-stem and de-seed chile. Now here’s the patience part. You want to separate the pulp from the skin. Take a sharp paring knife and carefully scrape the inside pulp from the skin.  Put this in a prep bowl and cover to keep moist.

Ancho-Raspberry Simple Syrup

Transfer chile pulp to a clean pot. Add sugar, 1/2 cup raspberries, a pinch of salt, and remaining cup water. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove syrup from heat and cover pan with lid, then let steep, covered, 20 minutes.

Pour syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing gently on solids. Careful you don’t want the solids; toss the solids.

Assembly

Halve peach lengthwise, pit, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Divide, along with remaining cup raspberries, among 2 shallow bowls or plates with recess.  Spoon syrup over fruit. Sprinkle with crumbles of blue cheese and lavender.