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Thrill Food: Recipes for Heat Seekers : Really Hot Dishes

May 09, 1991|RUTH REICHL

There are people who should really be called chile abusers--ask anybody who's ever been to a chili cook-off or watched a chile-eating contest. But people who actually like to taste their food usually like chiles too, and in countries where peppers are an integral part of the cuisine, they're nearly always in the majority.

These traditional cuisines show the many ways chiles can be used to create exciting dishes that are not mere endurance contests. It's all a matter of imagination and balance. These are some of our favorite hot dishes.

This recipe, adapted from "Peppers--Hot and Chile" by Georgeanne Brennan and Charlotte Glenn (Aris Books, 1988: $9.95), is one of the few desserts we found that uses chiles as an ingredient. The authors note it may also be served as a first course.

JALAPENO TART WITH ORANGES

2 tablespoons minced roasted jalapeno chiles

1 teaspoon minced ginger root

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

Pulp and juice of 2 oranges

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 to 2 pounds oranges, unpeeled and thinly sliced

Combine minced jalapenos, ginger, 3 tablespoons water, orange zest, pulp and juice and honey in small saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove glaze from heat and set aside.

Place flour and sugar in food processor fitted with metal blade. Pulse to combine. Cut butter into pieces, add to flour mixture and pulse until incorporated. With motor running, add enough of remaining 1 tablespoon water for pastry to form ball.

Pat dough onto bottom and up sides of 2-piece (9-inch) tart pan. Pierce with fork, add pie weights and bake at 400 degrees 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove tart shell from oven and coat inside with reserved glaze. Arrange orange slices evenly over top. Return to oven 5 minutes.

Remove tart and drizzle with additional glaze. Cool to room temperature. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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