Malagueta, one spice using thousand nicknames
Jamaica pepper , Tabasco pepper, Chiapa pepper, guayabita, amomí, Myrtus Pimenta, clove or clavileña; pimienta gorda, pimienta dulce, allspice, pimienta coronada, pimienta de Thevet and pimienta dioica. A spice has never had so many nicknames, and a fragrance so wonderful.
Perhaps the reason why it is unique and resembles all spices at the same time, it is because it has been baptized many times. But we, in the Dominican Republic - and also in Spain – have always called it by the poetic nickname “malagueta.”
The funny thing is that most of the time it was called “pepper” when its flavor - and its origin - is so far from the pungent spice. Although its history is as fantastic as its confused lineage, perhaps the brown color after drying in the sun or its pungent odor influences in a wrong way. It all began when Islam spread around the world and the Arabs introduced - for medicinal purposes - a type of pepper (probably the Ethiopian one) on the coast of Guinea. The place was known as the Coast of the Malagueta. Some time later, when slaves arrived to the New World, they recognized a berry that reminded them that one from their native land, and hence its name.
It has its origins in the region of Central America and the Caribbean, and reaches such prestige that it soon conquered the basins of half world. From pre-Columbian Mexico (where it was called xocoxochitl and used for season cacao concoctions) to the most modern cuisines, it has gone beyond seas and borders, spreading its unique aroma everywhere. It is because the malagueta is an indispensable ingredient for the Hindu chutneys and masalas, the canned food of guaya and Guatemalan ciricote, the Germanic Christmas stollen and Mexican mole. It leaves its prodigious stamp in the ras of Moroccan hanout, in the classic pumpkin pie of thanksgiving day, in the Jamaican pimiento dram liquor (where they are drown in rum) and even in the sold -and industrial- barbecue gringo sauces.
Although it won’t make your recipes spicy, they will be filled with a scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove (perhaps that’s why the English people name it allspice). Its volatile essence disappears soon after grinding, but the heat will intensify its aroma, because burning sensation makes the malagueta -like a gentile demoisellelook more beautiful.
Roasted auyama cream with malagueta Mousse
For the Cream: 2 lbs auyama, 2 tbl virgin olive oil, 2 leeks chopped, ¼ cup white wine, ½ cup vegetable broth, salt and pepper.
For the malagueta mousse: 1 cup of liquid cream (68%), 1 gelatin leaf, 5 malagueta berries, salt.
For croutons: 2 rye bread slices, virgin olive oil drops, salt, smoked pepper.
For Cream: peel and cut the auyama into cubes and bake at 350ºF until they are browned. In a bowl with oil, fry the leek lightly until it turns transparent. Add and fry the auyama lightly. Moisten with wine and reduce. Add the broth and season. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes and crush until you get a fine cream.
For Malagueta mousse: heat the cream liquid but don’t let it to boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatin and infuse the malagueta crushed with a pestle. Let it stand for 2 hours. Strain and add salt. Cool in fridge. Whisk the mousse with an electric beater.
For Crouton: cut the rye bread into cubes. Place them on oven tray and add oil, salt and pepper on them. Bake at 350ºF until it is browned and crispy.
Serve the cream hot and place the mousse on it (to be melted in the cream). Finally, place the croutons.
Asian sautéed burguer
For burguer: 1 ½ lb ground beef (50% beef, 50% pork), 3 tbl soy sauce, 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp ground malagueta, ½ tbl ginger powder, 2 lemons grated zest, salt.
For sauteed: 3 tbl sunflower oil, 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, 1 leek sliced thick, 3 baby cobs, ½ lb green beans, 4 tbl sweet chili sauce, salt, ½ apple Granny Smith, diced.
For crunchy onion rings:: ½ sliced onion, flour, salt and oil.
For burguer: place the ground beef in a bowl. Add all the ingredients and mix well. Shape the burgers and cook as desired.
For sautéed: brown the garlic in a frying pan with oil. Add the leeks and sauté, also the cobs and finally the green beans. Add the sweet chili sauce, salt and sauté. Remove from heat and add Granny Smith cubes.
For crunchy onion rings:: salt, flour and fry the onion rings.
Malagueta Flan on Cocoa toffe and streussel
For the Flan: 1 l milk, 10 malagueta berries, 1 lemon zest, 10 eggs, 10 tbl sugar, 1 lb mascarpone.
For Toffe: 6 tbl sugar, ¼ cup liquid cream.
For Streussel: ¼ cup flour, ¼ cup ground almonds, ¼ cup brown sugar, 3 tbl cocoa, ¼ cup butter.
For flan: heat the milk along with the malagueta and 1 lemon zest. When it begins boiling, remove from heat fire, cover and let it stand for 20 minutes. Beat eggs with sugar in a bowl, pour the milk, the mascarpone and mix well. Place in a mold and bake at 320ºF in a water bath for about 35 minutes.
For Toffe: Caramelize the sugar in a pan. Add the hot cream little by little and stir all the time. When the caramel is melted, remove from the heat and let it cool.
For Streussel: mix sugar, ground almonds, flour and cocoa in a bowl. Add the diced butter and mix until wellmixed. Shape a ball, wrap it in kitchen foil and freeze it. Once it is frozen, grate (with coarse grater) on the mold. Bake at 310ºF for about 12 minutes. Let it cool.
Place a base of tofee, and the streussel on it and finally, the malagueta flan.