Botanically known as Pimenta dioica, the allspice powder is a ground-up spice that is made from dried whole berries of the allspice tree.
The allspice berries look quite similar to whole peppercorns and are a member of the myrtle family. People often confuse the allspice powder assuming it is a blend or mixture of various other spices.
Allspice has been hugely popular in European and Mediterranean cuisines for decades and is native to Jamaica, Guatemala, and Honduras. It is also popularly known as "Jamaica pepper" or "new spice". Its flavour profile tastes almost like a combination of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper and hence is extensively used when warmer spices are needed. If you ever forget what this spice is like, well it's that spice that makes everything smell like Christmas.
Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to the New World was credited to have found and documented this spice which was then named by Dr. Diego Chanca.
- It is popularly used while preparing desserts, such as pumpkin cake or pies, spice cakes, and gingerbread.
- Allspice powder is used to season meat, soup, stew, vegetables, and many other baked goods where you would use nutmeg, cinnamon, or cloves.
- You can also use it in warming winter beverages such as mulled wine and spiced apple cider.
The easiest way to get started with this spice is as a cream cheese frosting. All you need to do is in a medium bowl, blend the cream cheese, butter, and allspice powder. Gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and milk until it's spreadable.
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