Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Has Anyone Heard of Peppadews

Unfilled Peppadews®
Some years back I tried Peppadews® at a party. They were filled with something cheesy and were just delicious. I didn't know at the time that these little peppers are quite unique. The name "Peppadew®" has even  even been registered. Apparently they were discovered not all that long ago (1993) in South Africa. They are little bitty peppers and look very like a cherry tomato in size and shape. Obviously, being peppers, they do vary in shape, with some sized and shaped very much like a little heart (chicken, pheasant, etc), while others are larger and rounder. While these little gems are not available everywhere, their availability is becoming more widespread, and of course they are available on

Peppadews® are a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet. While they are peppers with a scoville rating of 1,177, this rating is low, similar to Anaheim peppers or Pasilla peppers. They arrive here in the US already marinated and processed, either in cans or jars. The marinade they are subjected to adds sweetness, and it is this sweetness, balancing the minimal heat that just makes these tiny gems so irresistible. 

Why Peppadews®

Cheese Filled Peppadews®
So, you may be asking why am I bringing up these little peppers in the first place? Well a couple of months back, I was walking into our local grocery with my daughter-in-law, Julia (visiting from Chicago). We were fast and furiously discussing foods and recipes as we always do, both of us being avid foodies. The subject of Peppadews® came up and she asked me if I ever used them to make anything. I had just been saying I had not seen them locally, so no, I had not used them - - when we both looked over at the deli and there they were! Available even up here in Aberdeen! Amazing! Most things can be found here, at a price.

So they sort of stayed high in my mind ever since, but I'd had no occasion to buy them. However, our friend Rich was here for pheasant hunting, and he loves to eat also. I figured this would be a good time to experiment. I walked over to Kessler's, the local grocery, and bought a few. There were about 25 little peppers in the deli container for a bit over four dollars, so they aren't cheap, but not too bad either. I brought them home and started to think about what to fill them with. Cheese, obviously, but mixed with what? How? What kind(s) of cheese? 

I had goat cheese, which we just love, and I always keep cream cheese handy, so those were the first two flavors I turned to when puzzling out the flavor profile I was looking for. I had scallions in the fridge, so those would go in. Garlic? With Rich here, garlic is a MUST. In just about everything. Once I mixed these things together and tasted the result, it tasted a little flat. I added in a little Sherry vinegar. Then I added a little olive oil, to smooth out the flavors. It tasted most wonderful, so I filled the peppers. 
Cheese Filled Peppadews

This was the first time I used these peppers, so there are a few tips I can, with confidence, pass on:
  1. Drain the Peppadews® first and set them upside-down on paper toweling to dry well before filling. Otherwise, the filling just wants to slip out if the pepper is still very wet inside. I found this out by trial and error.
  2. The peppers are easiest to fill using a piping bag or a zip-top baggie with a corner cut off. I wanted to make mine look cute by using an open star tip, but I selected a tip far too large, so some of my first attempts to fill them were quite a mess.
  3. Then the issue of how to present them. These little peppers have no flat bottom. If you want them to stand up pretty like cherry tomatoes, it ain't gonna happen, folks! Set them on your serving dish, artfully arranged, either leaning on each other or just laying them on their sides. Enjoy their differences of shape and just flow with it!
  4. Goat cheese comes in various flavors these days, so choosing one with interesting flavors will add other flavor notes to the recipe, if desired.

Cheese Filled Peppadews®

20 - 25 little appetizer bites

20 - 25 Peppadews®
4 ounces goat cheese (Chevre or Montrachet)
2 ounces cream cheese
2 scallions, minced (white and light green parts)
1 large clove fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Drain the Peppadews® and set them upside-down on paper toweling to drain for about an hour. 

Prepare a piping bag with either a #10 or 12 round icing tip or a #21 or 32 open star tip. Or, just cut a hole in the end of the piping bag (or zip-top baggie) measuring no more than 1/4-inch in diameter.

Wilton tips: 10 & 12 round; 21 & 32 open star
Set the cheeses on a counter to come to room temperature for at least a half hour. Place the room-temperature cheeses into a small mixing bowl with the minced scallion and garlic and mix well with a spoon, to combine. Once well mixed, add in the vinegar and olive oil. Place this mixture into the prepared piping bag. Squeeze the mixture down to the point. Grab the bag tightly between thumb and forefinger just above the filling. Hold tightly to the bag and twist to create pressure on the contents. Squeeze enough filling into each little pepper to completely fill the inside. Set them on a plate to serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The cheese mixture can easily be made 3 or 4 days ahead, if making for a party. The recipe for the filling can be doubled or tripled or as needed. The peppers will last fine in the refrigerator as long as they are covered in enough of their marinade/brine mixture. If filling for a party, try to fill them as close to serving time as possible, only because since they will not stand upright, they tend to knock into one another, smearing the filling all over!

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (AHOFpin). I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.