This recipe is the perfect way to introduce friends to the charms of chili-spiced desserts.
1/2 cup sugar
1 habanero chili
1 vanilla pod
5 black peppercorns
2 star anise
1 small pineapple
1 ripe mango
8 physalis (cape gooseberry)
1 passion fruit
Step 1: Finely pare 3-4 strips of peel from the lemon, then put this in a small non-corrosive saucepan with the sugar, chili, vanilla pod, peppercorns, star anise and about 1-1/2 cups of water. Set over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the juice of the lemon.
Step 2: Meanwhile, peel the pineapple, remove its eyes, cut into chunks and place in an attractive bowl. Peel the mango and cut its flesh away from the stone in 4 segments. Cut each segment into easy-to-eat slices and add to the pineapple. Peel and pit the lichees and add to the fruit. Pull the physalis out of its paper husk and rinse before cutting in half. Peel and slice the bananas and add these with the physalis to the fruit salad. Immediately add the warm spiced syrup and mix thoroughly.
Step 3: Finally, cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out its gelatinous seeds. Mix into the fruit salad and set aside. The longer the spices are left in the salad, the more spicy it will become.
Note: This is not a dish to serve with cream.
Makes 4 to 6 servings